"The Death of Adam" snuck up on me. It's catchy, it's fresh, it features an amazing collection of guests (Kanye West, Redman, Shitake Monkey), and it plays through from beginning to end with a remarkably solid progression of songs. 88-Keys has been on the radar for a while now, an innovative hip hop artist with a distinctive sound who has worked behind the scenes as a record producer and collaborator, keeping good company with the likes of Mos Def, Macy Gray and Talib Kweli. "The Death of Adam" is his first release as a solo artist, and is a pleasant reminder that there's still a good deal of innovation in hip hop. A concept record that tells the story of the main character Adam, who's been murdered in a Harlem loft apartment, the album is a sharp, witty take on themes of modern romance, sexual frustration, pop culture and image. Particularly impressive is 88's ability to tell a story. Song after song, it genuinely unfolds along a plot line that uses music to capture a complete era in a single moment. "The Friends Zone" is a particular favourite, about a booty call gone blue.