5th Ave

The Coolest Hoods in the City of Trees Vol. 1

It’s like a taking a trip with a pack of art-loving, blunt-smoking, beatnik comedians. Well-conceived production (soul samples and horns a’ plenty) and 5th Ave’s laid-back rhyme style (fragmented, like he’ll run out of breath given a few extra syllables) rings with positive messages—but don’t mistake positive for didactic or corny. Rather, the tracks shine with honesty—each seems to be jazzier, texturally richer than the next. Standouts include “Whatchu Wanna Write About,” where C-Plus displays effortless skills as an emcee, and “Premium Blend,” featuring Plush Lush and his out-of-the-box flow. It’s the tiny nuances, like the heavenly sample on “Close to Spectacular,” that set this who’s-who of Sacramento hip-hop apart from the rest. Be on the lookout for the Neighborhood Watch crew.