By Carolina de Busto
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
The addictively catchy "Actioneer" is the highlight of the album. A cascading synthesizer beat, keyboards and Spade's Cee-Lo–inspired singing drives the song, which is a fusion of soul, hip-hop and nothing I've ever heard before. The sing-along–friendly hook — "Don't you want to be an actioneer?" — asks a question that proves to be one of the albums biggest themes: What's a man got to do to get ahead in the game? Using an unorthodox song structure, Spade only drops one verse sandwiched between a handful of hooks, but the rhyme is hot enough to carry the entire song. He raps at one point, "You got knowledge and they call you insane/They say, Change your style up, and it fucks with your brain."
Though the nineteen-song album probably could have used some pruning (an entire three-minute track devoted to other rappers he likes — "the geniuses that inspire me" — and another called "True Friends" that consists entirely of shout-outs and inside jokes that feels superfluous), there are enough heaters on the album to put Spade on the map nationally. Here's hoping he keeps his feet planted right herre in his hometown.—Keegan Hamilton
8 p.m. Friday, March 21. Vintage Vinyl, 6610 Delmar Boulevard, University City. Free. 314-721-4096.