Dru B Shinin' is unapologetic about how happy he is. And, on his latest release, the Fort Worth-based rapper nimbly sidesteps the darker themes that have characterized Southern hip-hop for years, instead favoring a candy-coated pop sound that, for the most part, works well. Although at times overly sugary and slightly clumsy, The Cleanup contains several sparkling romps perfect for cruising around in the summertime with the top down.
Make no mistake, though: This is very much a family-friendly album, completely devoid of curse words. Shinin' waxes poetic on such fresh-scrubbed topics as watching movies on the couch with a nice girl ("Just Got Home") and the joy of being a morning person ("Cargo shorts, button-ups / I'm awake as soon as the sun's up," he intones on "Blue Skies").
What makes it work is a hearty nod to hip-hop's '80s heyday. Shinin' doesn't attempt to pull any tricks out of his sleeve; his style is straightforward, his voice undistorted by effects. It's a listenable album that goes down like a glass of lemonade.
Pretty basic, sure, but completely refreshing on a hot summer day.