The Black Album



The Black Album is about how Jay-Z's retiring because he can't get any better--poor man's grown weary of his perch atop mountains of lesser emcees. SCORES of rappers have professed to be the best, but have any of them ever quit for that very reason? Hell, no. They'd only do that if they actually believed it. Jay's reasoning skirts the line between extreme narcissism and unbelievable absurdity; then again, we're talking about a man who gave himself the same name as God. The proof is in the rhyme, "the real shit you get when you bust down my lines/ Add that to the fact I went plat' a bunch of times/Times that by my influence on pop culture." [Is it self-aggrandizing if it's the truth?] Young Hov, who ranks 13 on Ego Trip's "Greatest Emcees of all Time," is "far from a Harvard student/ just had the balls to do it." (Local note: in "1st Song," Jay what-ups Portland DJ/ producer OG One.) JULIANNE SHEPHERD


Per Second, Per Second, Per SecondÉ Every Second


Why more bands can't sell-out like Wheat does on Per SecondÉ is beyond me. When it comes to cashing in your indie cred for major label chips and then betting the whole damn farm on this slick Dave Fridmann-produced record, Wheat has made the right call. As an indie band, Wheat were a bit stellar and a bit stiff--complete with a terrible live show that never matched the raw potential of their solid recordings. With Per SecondÉ , Wheat is fast out of the gate with the insanely catchy opener "I Met A Girl" and its quirky chorus of "I met a girl I'd like to know better/ but I'm already with someone." What follows are one fine-tuned pop song after another. Of course, in reality, this record will bomb, the band will be dropped, the corporate label will be downsized and Wheat will be back to indie obscurity in no time. Enjoy this gem while you can. EZRA ACE CARAEFF


Try This



In the world of the 14-year-old cigarette-smoking female juvenile delinquent, Pink is queen. Her songs are a direct representation of all the confusion and petty hormonal challenges these rebellious gals face, which under normal circumstances puts her head and shoulders above the schizophrenic innocence/whorishness of Britney and Christina. Unfortunately, Try This is a woefully uninteresting and at times, teeth-grinding failure. Produced and co-written primarily by Tim Armstrong of Rancid, Pink goes from hiphop hero to alternarock loser with song after song of the same unimaginative horseshit you hear every day on KNRK. There's barely a snappy hook on the entire disc, and to be truthful, Pink has a marvelous, gritty voice that would kill with some Joan Jett punk rock production. Why's she wasting her time with this loser? WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

**** Gravity Bong

*** Power Hitter

** Blunt

* Sneak-A-Toke