Public Enemy, "Man Plans God Laughs" (SPITdigital)
Aside from the occasional tour by aged icons, the world had stopped caring about old-school rap until films such as "Dope" and "Run the Jewels" made vintage hip-hop vital again. Few acts represent better than the passionate, political Public Enemy. They fought the power and brought the noise. A long dry spell started in 1991, but then PE's 2007 album, "How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul?" got the groove back. Enter "Man Plans, God Laughs." "Am I radical? Am I pacifist? Am I scared to fight? … Do I stand up? Am I owned?" rants Chuck D in the title track. The disc's scorched-earth electronic vibe extends to "Corporateplantationopoly," awash in smart emancipation rhetoric and dense bass, while "Give Peace a Damn" rolls coldly into drum-machine-dub territory. Questions of freedom and frustration play out with theatricality and import. Politics, not so much.
A.D. Amorosi, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Cognac & Conversation" is R&B thrush Teedra Moses' first album in 10 years. Guests include Rick Ross and Anthony Hamilton. tinyurl.com/owxvv47