Perfect Timin' (V-White Entertainment/SMC Recordings)

He's likely one of the favorite local rappers of your favorite local rapper, the street-level equivalent of being a respected "musician's musician." But Oakland's V-White (half of the Delinquents duo) is still a well-kept secret except to the most ardent fans of Bay Area hip hop. Perfect Timin' paints a slick portrait of hustling in East Oakland over a palette of the synth-driven, neo-techno sound known as hyphy around these parts. V-White sets himself apart from the pack with his ear for melody, particularly when it comes to song hooks, and a strong, commanding boom of a voice.

It would take someone attuned to Oakland's unique lexicon to decode some of the turf talk on V-White's solo debut. (For example, timing is slang for dealing drugs in some circles, so even the title has a double meaning.) But V-White also knows how to mix it up with mainstream pop culture references, ensuring he's not shooting himself in the foot by alienating a wide audience. "If Janet knew I existed, she'd dump Jermaine," he spits on "Tell Me." "With this powder I got, Whitney would leave Bobby in change." V-White might not get national attention (or even much local attention) off of this album, but there are plenty of tracks on Perfect Timin' that could challenge the hit list on KMEL and Wild 94.9 any day. Tamara Palmer

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