Little Brother’s Big Pooh began construction on The Delightful Bars with every intention of simply putting out a mixtape, but the project soon morphed into something bigger and a full-length LP was born. Available as a few different versions, Big Pooh’s solo follow-up to 2005’s Sleepers finds the MC in positive command of his rhyme game.
“This is some of my best work to date as a solo artist. I started off recording for a mixtape, but I had a plethora of material that deserved a presentation much larger than a mixtape,” he explains, adding that The Delightful Bars serves as a sort of informal overpass between Sleepers and the forthcoming Dirty Pretty Things.
The Delightful Bars is available as a special iTunes only version (the Candy Apple Version) and a Belgian Chocolate Version. For the purposes of this review, I’m taking a look at the North American Pie Version.
The North Carolina rapper demonstrates his skill all over The Delightful Bars, ripping out verse after verse of smart, consistent lyrics. He’s joined by a slew of guest stars, including Jay Rock, Torae, Big Dho, Ab-Soul, E-Ness, and more.
Production duties are handled by a rock-solid squad of superstars, with the likes of Khrysis, Jake One, Illmind, former Little Brother producer 9th Wonder, Young RJ, and The Co-Op at the switches and dials.
Fans of hip-hop know Big Pooh and Little Brother well. The group earned an XL rating from XXL Magazine for 2005’s The Minstrel Show and has been considered one of the most important and compelling underground hip-hop acts going at the moment. Surprisingly, Phonte from Little Brother does not appear on The Delightful Bars.
The lead single, “The Comeback,” features stellar Khrysis production and rolls with a satisfying groove. Big Pooh owns the track, laying out bars with dexterity. It won’t move mountains, but it’s a nice way to draw listeners in to the record.
Also produced by Khrysis, “The Life” features Mushinah and finds Big Pooh rocking a pensive vibe over a trouble-free beat and electro waves. A funky bounce highlights “Problems,” a joint riding the waves of Illmind production and a Jozeemo appearance.
The Delightful Bars will please fans of tightly produced underground rap. Big Pooh rocks the mic well enough and, while there aren’t many standout tracks, he’s created a respectable bridge to better things.