"No throwback jersey hanging to my knees / no doo-rags, no white tees / just the best producer and the best emcee / this is it / no limits / no gimmicks." It's a bold proclamation Soul Position's MC Blueprint makes on the song "No Gimmicks," taking aim at the current materialistic world of rap and hip-hop. This Midwestern duo, filled out by respected DJ/producer RJD2, is above all that. After receiving high marks for their 2003 debut, 8 Million Stories, the pair brings the formative foundation to hip-hop (one emcee, one DJ) back to the fore on their recently released sophomore album, Things Go Better with RJ and Al. RJ's signature horn blasting, soul-laden samples and funky beats compliment but never overpower Blueprint's concise rhymes and verses about such weighty subjects as drunkenly hooking up with a girl ("Blame It on the Jager"), guiding the youth in a positive direction ("The Cool Thing to Do"), blabbering on a cell phone all day ("I Need My Minutes") and, of course, the current, repetitious state of rap ("Hand-Me-Downs"), which contains these stirring words: "I miss the positivity / I wanna bring it back / but rap nowadays is by a bunch of ignorant cats / no young, gifted, and black / just guns, bitches, and crack." Get on board the Soul Position train!