The best hip-hop albums don't settle in the mind easily. And Greg Grease's Cornbread, Pearl, and G kneads that stubborn gray matter into improbable new shapes on every track. Though the Minneapolis producer-turned-rapper directly recalls what his father played for him on Lizzo-assisted "I Still Love H.E.R." — Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest, and Slum Village — this dense masterpiece never sounds like an imitation of any of them. Or Outkast, or the Roots, for that matter. Instead, it carries on these innovators' tradition of intra-album, heck, intra-song revamps. Don't get too hung up on one rhyme scheme or a particular beat, because Grease re-plots his course frequently, while never sounding lost. Be it the sun-kissed park imagery on "Summer Saturdays" or the rapid-fire flow of "Cliches" ("Conversation done changed up/Had to switch my game up/Not the same as these lame ones/Competition don't play much") or the confident head-nodder "C.R.E.A.M Dreams," it's hard to believe this guy ever rapped about being on the wrong side of a glass ceiling. Expect big things for Greg Grease in 2013. With Meta, Mike the Martyr, Bdotcroc, DJ Just Nine, and So Gold. 18+.
Fri., Dec. 14, 8 p.m., 2012