Producer and rapper Chuck Strangers of the Progressive Era collective–the same Brooklyn group that spawned greats like Joey Bada$$ and up-and-comers like Kirk Knight and Nyck Caution, has released his debut album. And it’s good. Goddamn good. And I’m not just saying that because he’s from Brooklyn and has a song about my old stomping grounds, Borough Hall. Or because Joey B makes a guest appearance on the album’s obvious single, Style Wars. Or a song named 1010 Wins, after AM station 1010 WINS. I guess what I’m saying is, this album makes me think of home. “No money ’cause I’m worthless…” “I still beat the pussy like the cops beat blacks…” “They just gave a nigga where I’m from half a century…” Line after line, song after song, this album feels as real and powerful as Joey Bada$$’s early work. And I don’t mean to compare Chuck to his bandmate too much, because they’re pretty different. Strangers focuses more on music–his background started with production after all–and on the meaning and power of hip hop. It’s obviously his life, his religion, and his gift.

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