Only half a year after dropping the rock-solid EP Thinking Back Looking Forward, Washington, DC duo Panacea is back with a full-length good enough to place them among the best hip-hop newcomers this year. This compact, 12-track effort from producer K-Murdock and MC Raw Poetic is free of filler and heavy on thoughtfully penned raps and lush, sample-driven beats. It really doesn’t matter if they’re laying down smoothed-out songs about lost love or bubbly, jazz-fueled, true-school joints-Panacea is crafting the kind of music that will make most listeners happy about hip-hop in 2006.