Brand New (Dirty)
Label: J Records
Blue Collar, the sophomore release from Chi-Town rapper Rhymefest, is dope. Story tracks such as the tragic "Bullet" and the ostensibly life-affirming "Tell a Story" are technically mesmerizing, but the album's best songs ("Devil's Pie," "More" and "Fever") are more relaxed, as if the rapper's technical virtuosity is merely the icing on the cake, and not the sole focus of the song. Combine this casual charisma with a dab of populist themes, and you have the Kanye West recipe for success.