Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Gabriel Teodros: Lovework [MassLine, 2007]
"We rock shows, mostly white folks come out," acknowledges twenty-six-year-old Gabriel Teodros toward the end of his solo debut. It's a typical ploy for the Seattle rapper, at once situating him in the underground and, by its candor, raising him a little above it. Teodros pumps a quiet flow over producer Amos Miller's keyboard-based beats--think Toronto's K-Os, only deeper and more swinging. He's conscious, diligently pro-woman, even slipping into the lamentably uncolloquial word-cluster "greed, homophobia, and sexism" (he's against 'em). But because he's an Ethiopian immigrant, his Afrocentric politics take on a compelling extra measure of knowledge and entitlement--especially, no surprise, on the geopolitically detailed "East Afrika" and the respecfully un-Rastafarian "In This Together." Teodros has brains, musicality, and a refreshing attitude. It's such a relief to encounter an alt-rapper who never once whines about his anxiety or wallows in his disempowerment. [Rolling Stone: 3.5]