Duck Down is kicking ass this year. Recently having seceded from the RIAA, the label managed to score 2011 releases from the venerable Pete Rock, new jack sensations Random Axe and now Black Rob. Even casual rap fans will recognize his name as a a former member of Puff Daddy’s Bad Boy crew, whose “Life Story” went platinum and who served four years off a seven years sentence for grand larceny, having been released last year.
Unlike many artists, Rob did his time and kept quiet. His return, “Game Tested, Streets Approved” is his first album since 2005’s underperforming (and underrated) “Black Rob Report.” It’s not a revelation: He’s still rapping with his characteristic deep-and-slightly-hoarse drawl, sounding like he just woke up with a hangover; he’s still boasting and telling street stories; and he’s still compelling. There’s not much more to say than that: If you liked his first two, you’ll like this one. I know I do.