Awol One & Factor: Owl Hours 

Acclaimed Orange County, Calif., rapper Awol One has long hovered beneath the commercial radar, and Owl Hours is his second collaboration with Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, producer Factor. The album focuses on the chaotic last few years of Awol's life. "Only when you're really drunk is when you smoke/Counting down every day until you croak," he rhymes on "Glamorous Drunk." The dark territory is fertile terrain for Xzibit, a longtime friend of Awol's who took some time off from pimping rides to executive produce the album and offer his brutal, furious flow to highlight "Brains Out." Though that song concerns suicide, the album doesn't end so bleakly. The final track, "Sunset Sandwich," finds Awol getting his act together and deciding he has plenty to live for. It also explains the album's title: "Write as much as I can/Got to step to the plate and be a man/Workin' late, owl hours." (Fake Four) 4 stars out of 5


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