Van Hunt: What Were You Hoping For?

Godless Hotspot/Thirty Tigers

On his fourth official bout in the ring, Van Hunt comes into his own delivering a powerful punch. WWYHF is irreverent and witty with biting social commentary couched in aggressive, sometimes chaotic soundscapes that nod to '60s psychedelic and '70s glam rock. Even when enclosed within familiar reference points like Bowie and early Kravitz, Hunt's pen is wholly original. Metaphorical songs, such as title track "North Hollywood" and "Designer Jeans," go after both sides of the political aisles, tackling gentrification, identity politics, religious consumption ... you name it. With contextual depth and thoughtful, poetic provocations, its tense sonic environment is sometimes more disruptive than polite, especially when it veers into metal. But even when he softens up with relationship fare on "Moving Targets," "Falls (Violet)," and "Cross Dresser," Hunt's fresh versatility further contributes to expanding mainstream territory for black artists, while finally fulfilling his early promise. (4 out of 5 stars)