We gave it a B+
Later That Day… Quannum MC Lyrics Born, a.k.a. Asia Born, a.k.a. Tom Shimura, made his name as one half of Latyrx, the slept-on rap duo that rolls with the Bay Area Quannum crew (DJ Shadow, Blackalicious, etc.). On this solo debut, dude swings for the fences: He comes out singing on a retro-funk banger, flips a few song-rap mutations (see the rub-a-dubby lover’s rock duet ”Love Me So Bad”), and otherwise tries on rhyme styles like baseball caps. Frankly, a bit more of his trademark slurred, butterfly-floating flow circa his memorable ’96 single ”Balcony Beach” wouldn’t have hurt. But that probably would’ve been too easy, and no one in Quannum does anything the easy way. Which isn’t to say that their experiments always pay off — only that even the failures are more compelling than 90 percent of current hip-hop. MICROPHONE FIENDING The sizzling ”Pack Up” proves that straight-up rap braggadocio doesn’t need to be dull-witted.