Drawing a link between the psych-folk of Pearls Before Swine and the fast rap of Percee P is a formidable challenge. Beauty and the Beat, the impossibly ambitious sophomore release from Edan, amalgamates these two genres with deft symmetry while maintaining an album-wise cohesion. Moving away from the heavy Marley Marl beats that dominated his debut-and distancing himself from the self-appointed moniker “the Quincy Jones of lo-fi”-his production now resembles the sonic assault of Phil Spector or the foreboding doom of David Axelrod. Earnest and reverential encyclopedic odes to hip-hop and prog rock act as an anti-“Losing My Edge.” As psychedelic as Mythos, and as unrelenting as the UltraMagnetic MCs, Edan is a master in possession of his own style, both lyrically and production-wise. Simply put, this is one of the best and most original records to come out this decade.