A-L's Future Classic Music would be best enjoyed in a smokey lounge, perhaps with a dry martini or a fine cigar, amid electric light from neon tubes. The album blends classic jazz and golden-age hip-hop samples with elements of futuristic hip-hop and house, so the title rings true, even if the disc doesn't necessarily live up to the "classic" status it designates for itself. A-L's production is the primary focus here; he doesn't do any rapping, and the prevalence of instrumentals, along with the inclusion of an instrumental of every track appended at the end, does make this feel a bit like a beat tape. But A-L's posse of guest rappers is no half-hearted collection: With underground heavyweights like Craig G, Edo G and Kam Moye, Future Classic Music is sure to appeal to any hip-hop purist, and with its timeless, laid-back sound, it deserves a go from anybody looking for a casual listen.


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