Artist: Self ScientificTitle: ChangeRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Conan Milne

Self Scientific captured the attention of the underground hip hop conscious with their seminal debut Self Science. Since then, there have been some big transitions for the talented duo of Chace Infinite and DJ Khalil. The group has seen their profile rise through affiliation with Xzibit and his Strong Arm Steady clique, and via the formation of Angeles Records with Cypress Hill’s DJ Muggs. It’s fitting then, that the collective would label their well anticipated sophomore set Change. This title is also relevant to the group’s music, which has gone through a reinvention of sorts.

It’s undeniable that Chace and Khalil have expanded their sound with this effort. On “King Kong” Chace trades verses with, of all people, Bun B. Over Khalil’s stuttering guitars and wailing sirens, Chace spews venom at the rapping clones he deems 50 Cent wannabes “with a flow reminiscent of Jigga’s”, while Bun B’s appearance alone shows that Self Scientific aren’t afraid to embrace the mainstream. Surprisingly though, or maybe not, the UGK member sounds right at home over Khalil’s intense instrumental, delivering a suitably aggressive chorus.

While “King Kong” proves that the pair can deliver quality, “accessible” rap (well, relatively speaking anyway) ‘’2 Step’’ is a club orientated jam that sounds glaringly out of place. Chace’s flow sounds comfortable enough, but lyrically he’s on cruise control. After instructing his female accomplice to take leave with him, the MC follows up with “just kidding - unless you was willing. I’m not kidding”. The group’s desire to experiment with their sound is understandable, but it really sounds like both Chace and Khalil dumbed themselves down here.

“Weight Of The World”, meanwhile, is vintage Scientific and is to Change what “The Covenant” was to their first offering. It’s epic. Chace sounds somber on the cut, frustrated by the many problems of modern life and rapping that things don’t seem right, before adding, “How many things in life is?” His downbeat rhymes are the perfect partner to Khalil’s haunting strings and scratches.

Rest assured that the intelligent commentary of “The Self Science” is still there (check out Chace’s barbed rhymes on domestic violence on the brutally honest single ‘’Live N Breathe’’) while Khalil has added more variation to his already impressive production. Despite differences with their first record and filler in places, the duo has successfully convinced this skeptic that change can be a good thing.