Magnificent City shines as a result of what sparked in 2003, when Philly-based producer/crate-digger RJD2 offered some beats for legendary Freestyle Fellowship MC Aceyalone to spit over on his Love and Hate LP. Aceyalone's rep as a sharp-tongued wordsmith barreled out of the West Coast underground in the early '90s, and his matchup with RJ's stable of wide-spanning backdrops lights up most of Magnificent City. Sluggish thwacks and machine cranks make for a fitting canvas in Acey's hard-luck tale "Cornbread, Eddie and Me," and on the clever nonconformist anthem "Disconnected," RJ reaches for the same type of thick organ jabs that spiced up his work on Diverse's One A.M. It isn't all crackling snares and brass in places like "Here & Now," though, and Acey's vibrant meditation on this one is instead tempered by a little vocal help from his partner. With only a couple of skippables, Magnificent mostly lives up to its name.
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