Meredith has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Meredith may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links.

The Sound of Sunshine

This lefty Bay Area rapper had a surprise 2009 hit with the light-hearted, reggae-tinged ”Say Hey (I Love You).” The follow-up album sets evocations of hard-won happiness to similarly strummy, globally grooved ? hip-hop. On The Sound of Sunshine, ”I’ll Be Waiting” reaches for U2 grandeur, but Michael Franti is best as an amiable neo-Marley busker, asking for change, love, and maybe one more shot at crossover gold. B+