Best Local Album of the Past 12 Months

Cheer for the Villain

In the days after Michael Brown's killing, local rapper Tef Poe quickly became a community organizer and social-media firebrand, calling for justice and decrying police discrimination in marathon Twitter bursts and boots-on-the-ground activism. But Tef Poe's career has long refused pigeonholing (the title of his award-winning column for this publication, "I'm Just a Rapper," was always taken in jest), and his first official album portrayed the multitudes, even within his dominant art form. Cheer for the Villain, released in early spring, finds Tef and his cohorts (Atlanta producer DJ Burn One, locals Indiana Rome and Aloha Mi'Sho, among others) taking on the trappings of hip-hop culture and the glamour-free reality of the streets. Tef has long been a talented lyricist with an unwavering dedication to his craft, and Villain puts those skills — and his realistic but big-hearted view of his city's social ills — on prominent display.

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