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CD Review: haj 

Outside Myself

The Deal: Charlotte's Anthony J. Hamilton releases latest effort – no, not the R&B singer (note the "J.").

The Good: Recorded at Charlotte's Asylum Digital Recording Studio and mixed at Studio B, the album opens with the scratched-up "Fast Food" with an A Tribe Called Quest vibe. Just when you think the album will continue to be laid back, it gets funky with "I Got Options." The slow groove of "Music (Life Line)" gets sped up thanks to a quick beat laid over it. Haj also gets help on that track from LaVita Harris and Lloyd Williams for a solid vocal trio. The lyrics are mostly personal, giving the album more depth.

The Bad: The start of "Come Together" is a bit repetitive, but that's the only weak link on a solid 11-track, 45-minute disc.

The Verdict: A fresh sound that kicks back to the old days of hip-hop. Haj spits rhymes over music that might normally be heard behind soul music, giving it an easygoing vibe.

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