With Expressions (2012 a.u.)
, Los Angeles MC-turned-crooner Dudley Perkins improves on his solid 2003 album, A Lil' Light
. For one, he sounds more comfortable singing and harmonizing, and even allows his rapper guise "Declaime" to take over at times (particularly on "Dolla Bill," an effective reprise of A Lil' Light
's "Money"). Still a humanist who pleads, "This world is stressin' me," on "Testin' Me," he's tougher and less fragile. Even in serious situations like "Domestic Interlude" and "Get On Up," he can find humor, sympathizing on the latter: "laid off at the job/Next thing you have to rob."
As always, Perkins's collaborator Madlib is on point. He turns to some obvious soul classics for samples, including the Spinners (the romantic "Coming Home") and the Stylistics ("That's the Way It's Gonna Be"). The effect is more familiar-sounding than Madlib's other projects. He leaves the eccentric touches to Perkins, who continues to grow as an idiosyncratic and surprisingly accomplished vocalist.