Even though today is the first chance for the public to buy Theophilus London's debut album, Timez Are Weird These Days (Reprise), the industry rumbling around this artist has been going on for months. No wonder—like London's wardrobe, Timez is a multi-genre mix of pop music's greatest sounds from the past 50 years. Like a boastful, macho Janelle Monée, London attempts to bridge the 1950s and the 2050s, and he seems to have the talent to pull it off. The backbeats are reminiscent of Prince, the bass echoes Rick James, the sound effects seem pulled from Grandmaster Flash, and the levitating vocals bring to mind Kid Cudi. But the weight of these influences doesn't bury London. The first track, "Last Name London," is hypnotizing and tribal, but it's still delectable pop. The bawdy and bloggy "Girls Girls $," meanwhile, is truly unlike anything else in post-Tupac-era rap—so listenable, tuneful, and charming that you will wonder why there isn't more hip-hop like this.
Theophilus London's Timez Are Weird These Days is available today at retailers and iTunes.