Reviewed by Chase Hoffberger, Fri., Jan. 23, 2009
Public OffendersDrop Jewels (A Call to Men)
The Public Offenders' nods to Tupac Shakur extend far beyond "A Girl Named Brenda" on the Austin quintet's socially geared Drop Jewels. The late figurehead's prophetic message is tattooed across the Offenders' debut LP like the ink that covered his body. Drop Jewels is "A Call 2 Men," most sincerely those guilty of committing domestic violence. Over a slew of beat variations, some bringing to mind latter-day Talib Kweli/Hi-Tek collaborations ("Public Offenders") but most souling out on slow piano rolls and mellow bass walks ("When Is Daddy Coming Home"), the Offenders prove themselves middle-of-the-road lyricists with a knack for the hook. That's aided in part by heartfelt contributions from wailers RB, TDG, and Tje Austin on five tracks and because the Public Offenders understand the ingredients of song. Such perspective makes for a well-realized effort that should be praised for its focus and admired for its intentions.