California-by-way-of-Alaska rapper Intuition and I have an interesting relationship for two people who have never met. It’s not based on e-mail chains, AIM conversations, or anything else like that. It just so happens that I raved about his debut, Stories About Nothing, for OkayPlayer almost four years ago. While it wasn’t exactly my editorial debut, it was one of my first reviews for OKP. And it more or less formed a musician-writer bond. I was always checking for new Intuition material, of which there was very little . Sure there was a remix here or there, such as when he spit over that Amy Winehouse joint. But he kept most of his work under wraps, which was absolutely a wise move. In between a slew of performances, writing new material, and dropping a killer free EP with VerBS, Intuition went through a huge change. His tonsils were removed and, as such, those Aesop Rock references I made four years ago became even more irrelevant. Intuition had truly found his own voice, though he possessed that all along anyway. He was also priming himself and the world for his grand return, which we have now in an impressive sophomore effort.
Girls Like Me finds Intuition linking up again with Equalibrum, the producer behind Stories About Nothing. And, again, these two complement each other perfectly on here. But this time around, the mood they set is primarily more upbeat, which is, in a sense, refreshing. While they do successfully delve into somewhat dark territory, such as on the moody “Feeling the Emptiness”, Intuition and Equalibrum mostly maintain a sunny optimism. That vibe then leads to such killer tracks as Intuition’s ode to booty calls, “Lonely”, and a sprightly celebration of the the Sunshine State, “I Love California”. Intuition and Equalibrum only falls short on the awkward and derivative blue collar worker theme “Don’t Try”. But, to be fair, that cut might have found a better home elsewhere, such as on an album where its cohorts aren’t so damn strong. Also, some listeners might scoff at Intuition’s similarities to Slug (of Atmosphere). Yes, the two MCs share similar qualities, such as lyrics regarding liquor and females and the unavoidable trouble that ensues. Yes, Slug even makes an appearance on here to spit bars regarding those two topics on the smooth album-closer “Buzzkill”. But Intuition sets himself apart by injecting wit and an air of optimism into his rhymes. And those are tied into a smoother, molasses-drenched flow than his Minneapolis counterpart.
Where this album truly excels is in its crossover potential and its cohesion. There are tracks on here that have a serious “single-worthy” vibe. “Al Bundy”, though relatively successful on the blogs, could be huge. Dibiase’s smooth production depicts a sonic rendition of a breezy weekend morning as Intuition flexes his skills on the microphone and shows he can do much more than just tell a witty story. Combine those with the perfect laid-back hook and “Al Bundy” oozes terms like “hit single.” The same goes for “Future Ex Wife”, which is propelled by Travis Brown’s soaring hook. This track is the essential mid-20s male theme song. A kind of “I love you, but I know this probably won’t last” joint full of endearing honesty. This all, of course, ties into Girls Like Me’s fantastic pacing. In a time where albums tend to be scattered collections of songs, this is a balanced effort. It’s weighted by both strong singles and album cuts along with two well-placed instrumental interludes. And that all makes for a record that’s destined to remain in your rotation.