Label: Duck Down
Talib Kweli has long shared a taste for melodramatic neo-soul, but he maintains a vigorously sentimental tone on Gutter Rainbows. Most of its songs, crafted by producers like Ski Beatz, Marco Polo and 88-Keys, augment Kweli's rhymes with gospel-like refrains and vocal choruses. The best tracks here maintain balance between the soulfully melodic beats and Kweli's forthright combination of metaphors and similes, but some descend into mawkish emotion. "Uh Oh," a pairing with indie goddess Jean Grae, "Self Savior," with Chace Infinite, and "Tater Tot" are among the highlights.