Chicago's Psalm One is the kind of MC you instinctively want to applaud. Intelligently observant, a gifted collector of details, she ranks up there with Jean Grae as a strong woman on the mike who refuses to pen a summer club thumper about her pussy. Unfortunately, though, The Death of Frequent Flyer falls short because of a gap between Psalm's flow and the production. Dulled-down Pete Rock-esque loops accumulate beneath the lyrics as lightly jazzy puddles that couldn't prop up a toothpick. Where's the hook? Indie hip-hop frequently underscores its criticism of mainstream rap by providing no entree into its songs. Sure, Psalm One spits with an eye for adjective and turns several admirably deft phrases, but the arrangements are like cut-rate merch that sits in aisles of piles at a closeout store. The music is not rewardingly difficult; in fact, it's sloppy. Only "Beat the Drum" -- a Latin-flavored collision of shake and quake that provides a glimpse of the rollicking force that Flyer could have been -- intersects Psalm One's talents with the beats.
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