Local Wire

Psalm One

Psalm One's The Death of Frequent Flyer is an uneven but compelling mix of pure rhyme skills and casual songwriting. One of the best songs on the 14-track disc is "Rapper Girls," a souled-out attack on untalented female MCs that wraps around Psalm One's chorus, "This is for my rapper girls/Cut it out/Cut that shit out." The other, "Macaroni and Cheese," is more abstract as she rhymes, "Call me erector set I set up shop/It's time to wreck yes you best check your watch" over a funk-blues beat. That leaves 12 more songs marked by sharp punch lines, a liquid flow, and a frustrating tendency to slur her words. Whether those qualities sound inviting depends on your estimation of an underground hip-hop scene that, for all its strengths, yields more shit-talking rappers than good songwriters. Psalm One does her best with cuts like "The Nine," a remembrance about riding the bus; and "Sworn Habit," a battle track partly built around drug metaphors. She's ambitious, and on The Death of Frequent Flyer her hard work sometimes even pays off.