By Will Hermes
September 29, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Food & Liquor

B+

This long-awaited debut follows the Chicago rapper’s career-making cameo on Kanye West’s ”Touch the Sky,” his sublime skateboarder single ”Kick, Push,” multiple mixtapes, and leaked tracks. Food and Liquor is a messy, ambitious CD by a deeply thoughtful MC that’s studded with brilliant turns — like ”Hurt Me Soul,” which imagines hip-hop as ”All the world’s ills/ Sittin’ on chrome 24-inch wheels.” Lesser excursions with the Neptunes, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, and Jay-Z still show a young man reaching for the sky, and touching it often enough.

Food & Liquor

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