Kidz in the Hall, "Land of Make Believe"

3.5

MC Naledge and producer Double-O, who comprise alternative hip-hop duo Kidz in the Hall, don't fit the rap stereotype--the pair graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and the latter was on the Belize track team during the 2004 summer Olympics. However, the title of the group's third album, "Land of Make Believe," refers to the larger-than-life accommodations of rappers and celebrities. Naledge's rhymes are a complex web of pop culture references and braggadocio (on "Flickin'," he raps, "Skin like cocoa/Bounce like Pogo/Toss like Romo/Fly kids call my closet dojo/Rich Boy but don't know Polow"). Double-O's pop-soul production serves as a bright, sugary backdrop for Naledge's brag-rap. Although it would probably complement their "smart is the new gangster" shtick to condemn the superficial rapper lifestyle, the closest the act comes is "Simple Life," on which Naledge considers a life free of luxuries and indulgences. Album closer "Rise & Shine," on the other hand, is a triumphant exoneration of the duo's career choice.--Evan J. Nabavian