40 Cal, of Harlem hip-hop juggernauts The Diplomats is on his hustle in a way that most rappers only talk about. Each successive year has seen a greater level of recognition for the emcee, who came up through NYC’s hyper-competitive battle and mixtape circuit before hooking up with one of the most influential crews in rap music. But while freestyles and the mixtape grind have kept 40’s skills extra sharp, the album format is where he truly towers over the competition. Mooga (slang for ‘money’), his debut for Gold Dust Media, is an album built for repeated listens, in the tradition of worn out walkman rotation tapes. Over the stadium sized beats The Diplomats are known for, 40 as well as Dipset affiliates Cam’Ron and JR Writer show that it’s possible to construct complete songs without sacrificing the clever couplets and over the top swagger that make rap music so much fun. From blown out jeep beats to club bangers to reflective meditations on responsibility, Mooga is the work of an artist on the come-up. Expext big things from one of rap music’s new stars.