Young and Restless

When the East Bay rapper Balance unleashed his first radio single, "Gotta Get It," on KMEL a couple months ago, the prospect of a full-fledged album was tantalizing. After all, the dude's been hawking mixtapes for six years -- by now he must have a huge stockpile of rickety freestyles and club-friendly beats simmering on the back burner of his mind. Young and Restless doesn't disappoint; in fact, it's poised to be one of the funkiest local efforts of 2006. And forget the single. Actually, it's all about track six -- a low-down, fuck-me song called (ahem) "Grind." True to its theme, "Grind" is what you'd get by adding up all the strip-club joints in the world and averaging them out: Two minutes and 27 seconds of primal braggadocio, with a beat that slithers right under your skin. Admittedly, not all of Balance's songs are classics. But it's safe to say that when this guy's good, he's shockingly, appallingly good.


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