For the record, a rapper or emcee's age is not necessarily a determinant in the quality of his or her music. The same can probably be said of any art, but it's especially true in rap if not hip hop. Aged, seasoned rappers sometimes take a beating in the form of criticism for being out of touch or out of their prime, but how can these critics explain the supreme caliber of albums like Life Is Good and Magna Carta Holy Grail (arguable) by Nas (39 years old) and Jay-Z (43 years old), respectively. If rap were only a young man's game, wouldn't the music get a little boring after a while. The members of Goodie Mob, Big Gipp, Khujo, T-Mo, and Cee-Lo, are all nearly at or a little above the 40 year old mark but still have put together a respectable album of songs in Age Against The Machine even if they have wandered a bit from their original underground sound. With commercial pop infused into some of the hooks and beats, the album is not a full crossover, and there is still plenty of ultra-conscious flavor and social commentary here to satisfy loyal fans of the original, keep-no-gimmicks Goodie Mob.
Listeners who know of the original Goodie Mob, who know they were primarily about philosophically deep rhymes about life's struggles coupled with jazzy, funky beats that remained relatively gentle throughout, might be taken off guard by some of the in-your-face, obnoxiously poppy beats and abbreviated verses that come with the album. It is flashy and gaudy at points with some super loud drums thrown in the mix, and you might wish more than once that the guys would keep rapping a few more bars to make the 16 measure mark. If you make it through that, the second half of the album seems to calm down a little giving more attention to the rhymes and the messages within the rhymes.
Age Against The Machine is not a sell out record. Goodie Mob have just simply tweaked their original sound a little to fit the times, which will get them needed notice by new music fans. The difference is an interesting variety despite obviously stepping into unchartered territory that the guys have yet to fully master. And even if the feel and flavor of the album don't strike a chord with your particular interest set, you can take stock in the fact that Cee-Lo is back with the group since departing after 1999's World Party leaving the group to make 2004's One Monkey Don't Stop No Show without him. Goodie Mob has come full circle, and the cycle is now complete.