Local Wire

Goodie Mob

After helping create the genre-busting Southern hip-hop that fellow Georgian pioneers OutKast would ride to superstardom, Goodie Mob's third album, 1999's World Party, sounded like a discouraging dead end. The content-free rhymes were poorly received and led to the departure of the Mob's most formidable weapon, the crooning, keening rapper-singer Cee-Lo.

The title of the new release is a clever nod to him -- but the album's larger mission is to redeem World Party's failure. Though the title track and "In Da Streets" rattle and hum with a crunk influence that seems beneath these innovators, there's also plenty of the rich, swampy R&B that made their first two outings legendary. Most significant, however, is the return to more serious topics; the audacious first single "Play Your Flutes" advocates creativity instead of hustling, and "God I Wanna Live" is a cry from hip-hop's moral wasteland. The missing monkey might have made a good album great, but the remaining trio's determination to put the Mob back on the map is more than enough justification for the Show to go on.

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Dan Leroy