Edan's first two albums, including the memorable 2002 disc Primitive Plus
, found the Boston MC and producer romping through old-school styles like a goofy kid at a flea market. Beauty and the Beat
, however, is a more mature release, a self-conscious throwback to the hip-hop psychedelia of the early Nineties. "Torture Chamber," a magnificent pairing with Percee P, sounds like Organized Konfusion's "Releasing Hypnotical Gases," and "Beauty" is a painfully hard-edged portrait. "Psychedelic images form like avalanches," he raps on the latter. "I use pens like hallucinogens." Beauty and the Beat
's krushed grooves have the potential to be extraordinary, even though they lack the unabashed whimsy of Edan's earlier, formative efforts.