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Aleon Craft: The Stargazing Soundtrack

SMKA

One of an expansive crop of promising underground Atlanta rappers, Decatur's Aleon Craft operates with a wild, genre-less abandon similar to his self-proclaimed heroes and fellow space cadets OutKast. The Stargazing Soundtrack, his new SMKA-produced mixtape, puts Craft's innovative aspirations on full display. The backing tracks draw from such disparate sources as bookish rockers Cake and 1980s television theme songs (the Nappy Roots collab "A Different World"), offering undoubted freshness in an age of Auto-Tuned ubiquity. But while the music on The Stargazing Soundtrack suggests Craft's enthusiasm for invention, the lyrics fall a hair short. Throughout the tape, Craft often can't seem to decide whether he hails from outer space or the inner city. While 'Kast skillfully wrote space travel as a hood metaphor, you get the sense that Craft's many UFOs are purely aesthetical. This doesn't detract from his music's surface attraction, though, and The Stargazing Soundtrack remains, at least superficially, quite satisfying. (3 out of 5 stars)