RJD2 The Colossus

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If you never got "Ghostwriter" out of your head, you've probably been waiting for RJD2 to return to his beatsmithing roots. But instead of straight hip-hop, The Colossus is an omnibus record, swallowing brass-wielding collaborators, live instruments, hand-aged beats, and its creator's voice—all in service of a mission to unify RJ's pet genres via horn-blasted statements of intent fit for rollicking arenas ("Let There Be Horns"), menacing synthesizer pit traps ("A Spaceship For Now"), and intricate instrumentals. Besides the closing faux-Beatles "Walk With Me," RJD2 drops the emo that tainted The Third Hand and swings for the fences when he takes the mic himself, rocking like a British Invader on "Gypsy Caravan." Even when he's channeling his inner Lionel Ritchie, it's not so easy: the smooth façade of "The Glow" hides lyrics clowning the yacht-rock yuppie he briefly threatened to become. Welcome back, Ramble John.