Rapper Big Pooh
The Delightful Bars: North American Pie Version
For accompanying Phonte, who at his best can compete in any cipher, and 9th Wonder, a producer whose skills were tapped for many of our favorite artists above ground and under it, Rapper Big Pooh had a lot of ground to cover in the eyes of his fans. His 2005 debut, Sleepers [click to read], showcased that Pooh wasn't a beneficiary of being lumped together with talent. It also showcased that there was room for improvement for the Virginia-born emcee. His sophomore effort, Delightful Bars, shows that the hunger for improvement is there, even if that journey is ongoing.
Rapper Big Pooh's skills have definitely come a long way. Those remembering the oft-outshined emcee from The Listening [click to read] and The Minstrel Show [click to read] should be reminded that Big Pooh has gained a stronger presence behind the microphone. His confidence can be found in the album's lead single "Comeback," where his microphone presence is as domineering as the crashing beat given by Khrysis [click to read]. He also uses the song to let those know that he isn't going away, only going to get better- "I still strive to be great / but outsiders don't understand what it takes / made plenty mistakes/learned to live with regrets."
Delightful Bars also takes the nod from the Little Brother LPs as it finds itself even with its production. The music ranges from your typical emcee battle hymn "Reality Check," towards the more chilled out "Move." Big Pooh doesn't ever sound out of range, and he shouldn't, considering he stayed with mostly in-house with his production. Justus League regular Khrysis helms the project with the most production, along with Mickey Free, Illmind [click to read] and 9th Wonder contributing to the musical landscape.
Even so, with the stronger lyrical performance from Big Pooh, the guest appearances are uneven, down to the artists. Like his production, he relies on the home team for his features. To its credit, it produces some solid guest appearances, especially on the posse cut "Roll Call." Joe Scudda [click to read], Chaundon, and Jozeemo combine to make the albums stand out record. However, there lie some failures elsewhere. Jozeemo's other appearance on the album comes off uninspired. Torae [click to read] shares the same fate on the otherwise cool "It's a Go." With a majority of the tracks coming along with help, there are times where this can sound like a compilation album that features Big Pooh instead
Perhaps it is unfair, but the sin of comparison will always looms heavy between brothers, real or musical. Let's face it; Rapper Big Pooh may never be as prolific as Phonte on the public stage, whether it is because of his laid back demeanor or his skills behind the microphone. However, by the time you hear the mellow "Rearview Mirror" [click to read] as it passes into the "Outro," you understand that Big Pooh is worthy of the stage he has gotten. Not every single bite of Delightful Bars is as sweet as the one before it, but it should be fulfilling to those who need musical satisfaction.