So, a while ago, I promised to give a post to whoever reached out looking for one. That was a bad idea. I’ma tweak that policy in the near future. But I am gonna follow through with the people who hit me up.
So there’s this guy named L*A*W who is heavy on Twitter, and reached out a while back to hit me about his album, Tha Planet 12 Syndrome. I brushed it aside and figured I could get around to it when things got quieter. Now, they are.
L*A*W (it stands for Lyrical Assault Weapon or Loves All Women) has a history in the industry: he was part of George Clinton’s 420 Funk Mob, and backed up Amy Winehouse back when Wino was a thing. He’s also got a pretty decent album. Tha Planet 12 Syndrome blends a little bit of everything (“Hip-hop, funk rock, R&B hybrid / Sprinkled it with jazz, throw some techno in the pot / Johnny Nash, Cashville, ’cause I love country pop,” L*A*W raps on “Freestyle Introduction (The Beam-down),” the strong lead-off track) for a mix that comes out smooth.
Tha Planet 12 Syndrome isn’t hyperlyrical rap, and it isn’t quite as prodigiously funky as a Parliament record, and it isn’t really hooky, or really poppy, but it’s got something for everyone. (Thank L*A*W’s very versatile voice for that: he sounds like Black Thought and Common and Talib Kweli at times, and that’s a range that allows him to do virtually anything on the mic.) And an album bold enough to make space for the narrative of “I Don’t Wanna Be An American Idol” with the Brooklyn-rap-over-church-bells of “Get Down!” is admirable for its impudence in defying genre, if nothing else.
Is it a great album? Nah. 1) I’ve only heard previews for now and 2) the scattershot approach makes some problems with sequencing more pronounced than ones on more single-minded albums. But I know I could play this for my brother, and I know I could play it for my Gap Band-loving neighbors. That makes it very good.