There's a special place in the hip-hop pantheon for albums created by just one emcee and one producer. So often too many cooks spoil the soup, with a release featuring a glut of guests and the actual artist's vision getting lost in the mix. Thr3e is the third edition of Theory Hazit's Lord Fire series. It's produced solely by Dert, a prolific beatmaker best known for his work with Tunnel Rats, as well as projects like Sometimes I Rhyme Slow and The Short List. Haz is another hard worker, as evidenced by joints like Extra Credit, Vintage, and a gang of tracks with his Scribbling Idiots posse. As expected, there's a lot of religious imagery on display, but even secular hip-hop fans will find much to enjoy here, with an abundance of razor-sharp wordplay and scratch-laced, ear-tickling beats. Catchy enough for radio (in a good way), it's a great album whether you're plugged into the higher-power rap scene or just a fan of quality beats and rhymes. The title track, "I N3ed You Mor3 Than 3ver," and "Jo Jo Danc3r" are especially nice.

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