Review ·

As of late, the stars of the hip-hop world are not just emcees anymore: The nerds in the background, the ones who mastermind the beats and samples, can hold the marquee just as well as anyone else. These days, you're just as likely to see the Neptunes or Timbaland talking about their cribs as you are P. Diddy or Jay-Z showing off their ice.


Tariq L., half of the Atlanta-based duo the Hemisphere, along with emcee U-George, is part of this new breed of hip-hop all-star who understands that the music is more construction than image, and he will not hesitate to flaunt that. Despite his Atlanta (by way of New Jersey) roots, Tariq L isn't awash in the accoutrements of Southern hip-hop. His laid back style requires full attention as he moves between beats and temperaments.

Some tracks are instrumental, but the ones that feature a vocalist may do so simply for the sake of tucking lifeless beats well into the background. Such is the case with "Ways of the World" (featuring Aphro), which is a fine vocal showcase, marred only by Tariq's torpid beat.

Beatz in My Lifetime is like a bag of jellybeans. You're excited to down those orange and cherry beans, but you're throwing those horrid black ones away. There are plenty of styles and moods to keep everyone excited, but not everyone is going to like everything in Tariq's bag.

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