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CD review: Josh Sallee 'Probable Flaws'

Oklahoman Published: March 30, 2012
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Josh Sallee “Probable Flaws” (Pairadime)

Josh Sallee bestowed his second album with a humble title, “Probable Flaws,” but as the opening title track beautifully illustrates, the Oklahoma City-based rapper makes few mistakes on this follow-up to 2011's “Return to Sender.” Producer Dante Jones cuts up Hall & Oates' “Did It in a Minute” to create an ultrabright beat behind Sallee's did-it-in-a-millisecond delivery, the kind of hyperkinetic rhyming that generates legends. He's got “bigger dreams like sipping tea in Italy, specifically, in Sicily, with Miss Sallee on Christmas Eve,” and he puts it forth so effortlessly that his Sicilian holiday feels within reach.

Rather than settle into a specific bandwidth in the hip-hop spectrum, Sallee moves freely through the genre, delivering his rapid-fire verses over modern R&B beats on “Not Following” and then finding a slow-burn flow on “RIP to Regret,” a low-slung ballad built by producer Blev on a James Blake sample. This is a rapper with considerable polish to his delivery, but as his taste in sampling attests, Sallee is alternative hip-hop through and through. His fealty to the eccentric, uncompromised work of artists such as Kendrick Lamar comes through clearly on “Put Out” and the unbelievably brisk “Big Kid Bars.”

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