Five years ago, this Chicago rapper made Dennehy, a truly great concept album about a friendship between a working-class white dude and a troubled teen MC. His 10th album is concept-free, but no less distinct. Over atmospheric beats that clatter and drone, Serengeti drops left-field references (Counting Crows, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) and sad stories: a father and son bond over smack; a hapless liar maintains two marriages; and, in “The Whip,” a broken-down UFC fighter obsesses over what might have been. It’s by turns weird, pretty and deeply humane — the sound of an arty rhyme junkie letting his mind wander all over.
Listen to “The Whip”:
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