CookBook, I Love the 80's (Just-Us)

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Some culture critics would argue that the '80s revival has come and gone, but don't tell that to CookBook of L.A. Symphony. For his solo debut, the nostalgic hip-hop act focuses all his attention on reliving pop culture and music from his favorite decade. Considering that first few seconds of I Love the 80's feature a vocal sample from Ferris Bueller's Day Off, there's no mistaking the effort CookBook put into making the concept stick.

And the theme works—especially on "What's Happening Now," a track inspired by Ray Parker Jr.'s "Ghostbusters" refrain, "Who you gonna call?" Here, CookBook bridges lighthearted reflection with elements from a song that most '80s babies will instantly recognize. And that's exactly who will appreciate this album: those who grew up with the same music and movies that CookBook did.

But at the same time, the production can be too reliant on the sampled music, without many updates or additions. Sampling "In Your Eyes" for a song as personal as "The Huxtables" couldn't be more fitting, yet because there isn't much manipulation to the warm synth lines, you're left wanting more on the beat tip. Even still, CookBook's love of the '80s can't be denied. [3 out of 5 stars]