“I have a plethora of material that deserved a presentation larger than a mixtape,” Little Brother’s Rapper Big Pooh told allhiphop.com in a recent interview. As a result, Pooh developed a cutesy way to release three separate and slightly varied versions of his new The Delightful Bars “street” album, all named after decadent snacks (Candy Apple, North American Pie and Belgian Chocolate). More like Diabetic Bars, amirite?
And if that doesn’t satisfy your cavity cravings, perhaps the cover art for each of these will spark your gastrosexuality a bit. Each shows a different nude model sprinkled with candy. The cover for the version you’re reading about here (Candy Apple iTunes Exclusive) pictures a woman who’s about to bite into a McIntosh apple. Her tongue’s position suggests more than good dental hygiene and, uhh, eating fruit.
But there’s music here, too: I’ve always envied Pooh for having the braggadocio to slap his job title”Rapper”onto the beginning of his name, but he’s the member of Little Brother sticking to that epithet. After all, the Little Brother days are far behind us for now, and Pooh’s co-emcee, Phonte, is touring the country with his other group, The Foreign Exchange, crooning break-up songs in three-piece suits and derby hats. But Pooh’s bronzing his solo reputation as a rapper, shooting rap videos in true hip-hop form. For instance, the scene for this album’s lead single, “The Comeback,” features Pooh standing in a kitchen, swarmed by shimmying vixens all taking turns preparing ingredients, baking and packaging Pooh’s “Delightful Bars” candy bars. Oh, and out of no where, money starts flying around the kitchen. Women, money, power? Well, if you’re going to chase the stereotypes, might as well go for them all.
Pooh’s smarter than that, though, and on “Power,” his pesky confidant, O-Dash, joins him for a Khrysis-laced P.S.A. advising us about the evil veneers of hood life and the recording industry. O-Dash namechecks the old crime-ridden Durham housing-project formerly known as Few Gardens (now rebuilt and renamed) to illustrate the effects of power when it’s in the wrong hands. “Rear View Mirror” finds Pooh back in 9th Wonder’s comfortable hands. 9th’s cottony bassline gives Pooh the comfort to use the track as a confession booth and finally uncover many of the details about the Little Brother-9th split that everyone’s been harassing the three guys about for years: “I know it’s that time/ gotta stand on my two/ tighten my belt/ lean on Rapper Pooh/ wasn’t really love that we shared as a crew/ ’cause love ain’t something you say/ you do,” he waxes passionately, telling us, in a nutshell, what transpired.
More important, though, is that all this drama is probably what’s unearthed Pooh’s energy lately, hopefully readying him for a strong second LP called Dirty Pretty Things. This husky, native Virginian seems flooded with anxiety for that record (the proper follow-up to 2005’s skippable Sleepers). During “The Release,” he swears the event will have other emcees recoiling and headed “back in the lab, remixing themselves.” As long as Pooh can keep it, it’s all right for a hefty man to make a hefty promise, right?