Andre "A.G." Barnes, also known as Andre the Giant, has paid his dues for so long, he deserves a free pass -- not that he needs one. He was an original member of D.I.T.C. (Diggin' in the Crates), a NYC outfit that included producer Rodney "Showbiz" Lemay; the two subsequently hooked up again in Showbiz & A.G., a duo responsible for some first-rate platters circa the '90s. Unfortunately, fame didn't follow, and The Dirty Version, A.G.'s 1999 solo debut, failed to cause a stir. That makes his belated followup, the new Get Dirty Radio, a real surprise, as well as proof that old-schoolers can handle new curricula. Although the album sports a few retro moments, tracks such as "Frozen" and "Take a Ride" eschew nostalgia in favor of modern production, which makes the lead rhymer sound fresh again. A.G., who joins Dan the Automator, Casual and Chali 2na on the 2KSports Mixtape Live Tour, may not be a commercial giant, but his latest music is big stuff.


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