Chicago rapper hits all the familiar notes.
Given that Chicago's Cap D rhymes about all of the usual topics -- life in the neighborhood, his ambitions to make something of himself, his remarkable verbal abilities -- his beats need to do most of the heavy lifting to make him stand out from the multitudes of other rappers out there. While not exactly absent, true standout cuts are sparse on PolyMath, his fourth album. "Addiction" works well in a creepy, get-under-your-skin kind of way, and "Chicago Five-O" channels some righteous anger over police brutality to a nervous beat and a snaky bassline. It's the second track that's the standout here. "Champion Anthem" sounds like the unholy love child of arena rock and hip hop excess. Trumpets? Why the hell not -- somehow it all blends into a seamless, even transcendent whole. The pure swooping joy of this track makes it no surprise that the rest of the album, particularly the second half, tails off alarmingly.