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Aceyalone Aceyalone & The Lovely Ones

Understandably perturbed about the lack of doo-wop-influenced hip-hop, L.A.’s finest underground MC decided to do something about it—hence this tribute to ’60s soul. It’s always amazing to hear Acey shoehorn words that shouldn’t fit into his verses, and Lonely Ones has its moments: the James Brownish “Can’t Hold Back,” the Hambone-ready “Take It to the Top,” and the ’68 Olympics-style salute of “Power to the People.” But retro-soul generally works better if you can sing like Raphael Saadiq or Sharon Jones; maybe that’s why there were no rappers in the Motown era. Acey gets an A for effort—to go along with his usual A+ for lyricism—but overall, this seems like more of a curio than a classic.

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