LMNO, 'fOnk Garden'

The Hype: Anyone who's been following LMNO's unprecedented album release campaign,

The Judgement: It's one thing for LMNO to drop 10 albums-worth of piercing, staccato flows and sage wisdom. But the fact that he's attempted a concept album--albeit a loose concept--on fOnk Garden raises his level of ambition up one more notch. 

Opening with tranquil salutations to nature on the title track, LMNO materializes his love for hip-hop by acknowledging the fruits (and vegetables) of his labor. 

The ending pulls you into his imaginary garden with numerous skits at the end of his tracks that sound like one of those talking animal Nickelodeon cartoons, adding some levity to his deep-rooted rhymes.

The whole hip-hop garden theme kinda falls off in the middle of the album, with songs like "Twisted" and "Us Against Us," which are more recognizable to avid LMNO fans--innovative, minimalist beats and his ability to make heady thesis material out of life's everyday bullshit. If that doesn't sound like a talent, try it sometime. The album is at it's funkiest--sorry, fOnkiest--on songs like "Get Gone" and "psychOmicrOcOsmic," which are laced with surging West Coast synths and spacey, Parliament-esque snare snaps courtesy of innovative producer Muldrow who also adds some soothing R&B background vocals to songs like "All in All." Overall, the ideas are well cultivated and manage to stave off any sort of sophomore jinx that might have threatened the second installment of LMNOs hefty, 10-album undertaking. The question is: will the rest of them be this good?

Download These: "fOnk Garden," "Get Gone," "psychOmicrOcOsmic"

Grade: A-

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