Sadly, All of the Above stands little chance of catapulting Live back into the spotlight. Everything about Live screams "true school," and his tendency to favor lyrical narratives over flashy one-liners and amped-up hooks won't endear him to most fans of fast-paced commercial rap. Live combines the aggressive, cocky presence of Pharoahe Monch with the nerdy linguistic experimentation of Blackalicious's Gift of Gab while covering a full range of subjects. The beats, supplied chiefly by J-Live, DJ Spinna, and Jazzy Jeff, range from dubbed-out funk numbers to spellbinding celestial jazziness. It all leaves us hoping we don't have to wait another six years for Live's next album.
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