The high points of Beans career, in terms of records, happened on Anti Pop Consortium's first album "Tragic Epilogue" and here on his second full length solo effort "Shock City Maverick." Although my greatest rapper list is comprised of freaks and wierdos, this album alone has ushered this man right to the top. Where "Tomorrow Right Now" faltered in terms of being too self-involved in its experimentation, this time around he keeps the beat going even when his voice takes a break, which is more often that you might expect considering the going trend where rappers/emcees are afraid to even take a breath between the chorus and the verse. Seriously, that unsaid rule is as dumb as the rule about making a rap album that's well over an hour long, even if that means that half of it is comprised of skits. Anyway, thankfully Beans refreshes with this 39 minute exercise where all the herky jerky stuff is removed and replaced by layer upon layer of razor-sharp synth lines and ultra funky high paced drum patterns that ironically rarely venture away from the boom-bap (IE: no clear techno or jungle influence), but not for the sake of sacrificing weirdness. This is still esoteric space rap, but this time it feels like the biggest party this crew has ever thrown. Beans vocals are also extremely palatable as he devours the mic like a cyborg vulture, resisting the far extremes of Kool Keith or Busdriver, but finding a middle ground that I suspect both those artists could appreciate if Beans didn't spend most of his time overseas, which you can't blame him for when most American artists don't even get their own joke they are making by feeding such a hillarious stereotype. Seriously, shouldn't 50 know by now that we like him only when he's so goofy that it's not even real anymore? Fans of Kool Keith's Black Elvis persona, or Deltron 3030, should adore this Beans album, and yet somehow I doubt they are even aware, maybe. Oddly I seldom find kinship over my enjoyment of this group, except among neo-jazz enthusiasts (thanks to Matthew Shipp I presume), which is crazy because he comes out like the long lost twin of Rob Sonic on this outing (now that would be an excellent collaboration right there). Anyhow, back to my best-of list. Here are the Hip-Hop albums that have emerged around roughly the last 5 years or so which I personally feel have reached new ground in terms of being very off-the-wall with creativity and abstraction, but still easy to bob your head to: Beans "Shock City Maverick," Aesop Rock "Bazooka Tooth," Rob Sonic "Tellicatessin," EL-P "Fantastic Damage," Dr Dooom "First Come First Served," Del the Funky Homosapien "Both Sides of the Brain," Mr.Lif "I Phantom," Madvillain "Madvillainy," Sole "Selling Live Water," & Dalek "Absence."