The Washington Post

Ras Nebyu, Charlie Worsham, Lulacruza and Goodie Mob: Critic’s Notebook

Notable recordings from the world of pop music.

Ras Nebyu

Ras Nebyu (James Davis Wilson)

For all of the television shows currently set in Washington D.C., it’s odd that so few qualify as science fiction. Have you looked out the window lately? The exclamation point on the city’s skyline is a giant, glowing, alien obelisk. 21-year-old Washington rapper Ras Nebyu gets it. His intriguing new video for “Futuristic Black Man” — the most potent cut from his not-quite-new mixtape “Babylon’s Most Wanted” — transforms Rock Creek Park into an ancient sci-fi playground. There, he rhymes about rastafarianism, charged-up chakras, the tangled politics of his city’s growing rap scene, and in his closing couplets, addresses the federal politicos that share his area code, re-stoking a culture clash that’s epitomized life in Washington for decades: “I’m born and raised in the city/You are not the District.”

Warning: this video contains explicit lyrics. Futuristic Black Man

Charlie Worsham

If Nashville’s swollen mob of party bros are turning country music into a frat house, Charlie Worsham is the shy guy out on the porch, quietly hunched over his banjo. On his exquisite debut album “Rubberband,” the Mississippi native sings about love and longing with the same delicate touch he applies to the banjo, the guitar and the mandolin. At the close of a beer-drenched summer, his voice feels like a cleansing breeze weaving through a rubble of red Solo cups.


It’s been more than two years since their “Circular Tejido” EP first floated across the Internet, but the music still sounds as if it’s just arrived from some dreamy, faraway future. (The South American duo performs in Washington this week.)

Meshing the thwack and crackle of traditional folk instruments with crisp digital textures, these songs stretch themselves out at leisurely tempos, giving vocalist Alejandra Ortiz plenty of time and space to further blur time and space.

Lulacruza, “Circular Tejido

Goodie Mob

Goodie Mob. (Courtesy of Primary Wave)

He took a four-letter word up the pop charts. He dueted with Gwenyth Paltrow at the Grammys. He coached scores of sub-par singers on reality television. But before all of that, Cee Lo Green was the sonic anchor of Goodie Mob, a brilliant Atlanta rap quartet that spent the ’90s crafting some of the most imaginative hip-hop ever recorded.

Fourteen years have passed since the last Goodie Mob album, and now we have “Age Against the Machine,” a twitchy new collection of songs, out next week. Green makes good on that title. Over an array of harsh, convulsing beats, he and his comrades spit fireballs at the conformist music-biz culture that made him a household name. “When you’re in the valley, the mountain top seems so very high,” Green sings on “Valleujah,” a song that’s more irate than inspirational. “So I got on my hands and knees and started climbing.” He’s finally at the top and he’s furious.

Warning: This song contains explicit lyrics.

Lulacruza performs at  Sitar Arts Center, 1700 Kalorama Road, NW on Aug. 24. Goodie Mob performs at the 9:30 Club on Aug. 24. Ras Nebyu performs at Liv on Sept. 1.

This post has been updated to reflect a correction to the band Lulacruza’s name. 

Chris Richards has been the Post's pop music critic since 2009. He's recently written about the bliss of summer songs, the woe of festival fatigue and a guide on how to KonMari your record collection.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
How to make Sean Brock's 'Heritage' cornbread
New limbs for Pakistani soldiers
The signature dish of Charleston, S.C.
Play Videos
Why seasonal allergies make you miserable
John Lewis, 'Marv the Barb' and the politics of barber shops
What you need to know about filming the police
Play Videos
The Post taste tests Pizza Hut's new hot dog pizza
5 tips for using your thermostat
Michael Bolton's cinematic serenade to Detroit
Play Videos
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
Pandas, from birth to milk to mom
The signature drink of New Orleans
Next Story
Frances Stead Sellers · August 19, 2013

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.