I've been listening to the Fort Minor album pretty constantly since my initial run-through yesterday morning, and I'm ready to upgrade my rating to "quite good." All of the tracks except the standard rap-album fillers are now in my permanent rotation. I don't really know who to recommend it to, though... plenty of rap fans won't like it, plenty of Linkin Park fans won't like it, and plenty of pop fans won't like it... and I'm sure that plenty of any of those three groups will enjoy it a lot.
[I guess now with Google Video I don't need to put much effort into finding links to music.]
Here's a good one... Fort Minor - Believe Me
Mike Shinoda is an unusual rapper. I don't know what exactly it is that I enjoy about his voice, but I think that a good part of it is that He Clearly Enunciates Each and Every Word. Part of this comes from the Linkin Park "let's yell everything," which is a bit irritating. He's kind of the opposite of Kanye West, who stretches and distorts and slurs words like there's no tomorrow. Or, perhaps Imogen Heap or a lot of female singers, who seem to have personal vendettas against consonants.
Anyway, good gift. The video I linked to above, Believe Me, is one of the better tracks. My favorite is High Road featuring John Legend, which has Shinoda rapping and Legend singing over piano and drums. Legend's got an excellent voice, but his CD is R&B, a genre I still have a pretty low tolerance for. The most interesting is Kenji, a song about Japanese internment in World War II.