Dom Kennedy isn't interested in giving you brain-twisting lyrics or bodacious boasts of wealth. On his new album Get Home Safely, he's just fine being himself. Whether reciting a laundry list of items that he's bringing when hanging out with some chicks on "Dominic," or proclaiming that he wasn't a voter before Obama was in office on "17," Dom is firmly in the lifestyle rap driver's seat. Get Home Safely is a road map of his hometown of Leimert Park, a continuation of last summer's critically acclaimed Yellow Album. Safely cuts a lot of the filler that Yellow Album was sometimes inundated with, in exchange for quicker, snappier songs like the awesome "Erica Part 2."

Dom's laissez-faire rhyme patterns serve as the perfect narration for the laid back beats (the album is mostly produced by The Futuristiks), channelling different eras of West Coast production from DJ Quik to DJ Khalil. Get Home Safely isn't the most lyrical or even the most star-studded album to release in October, but it is definitely the most honest. Dom has an independent spirit that not only translates to the way he has promoted this album (it's being distributed exclusively through Best Buy) to the way he has stepped up his game artistically. —Justin Davis