Genre-blending isn't a new concept. So, I'll skip the "OMG, this is the greatest album ever, even though I didn't listen to it because it's different" comments. However, Raury's full-length debut All We Need is a pretty interesting album. It takes tropes from folk, folk-rap, alternative rock, Curtis Mayfield-era soul, underground rap, and industrial music--just to name a few genres--and blends them together in some sort of effort to render the idea of "genres" obsolete.
And it works, for the most part. If you remove the album from the idea that Raury is seen to some (read: quite a few bloggers, Pitchfork, etc.) to be the second coming of Christ in musical form--and just look at it as a mash-up of many genres, but still mostly rap--you're given a pretty great project. However, when people start looking at the album to save their musical souls? That's when you've got a problem.
He gets outshined by some of his (featured) guest spots, mainly the previously-spoken-upon "Forbidden Knowledge." The production feels a bit extra, in the sense that some songs become cluttered, instrumentally speaking. Additionally, the meshing of genres can overwhelm some. This leads to Raury's vocals and message becoming somewhat washed out by his slightly overly ambitious goals. It's as if he didn't know whether he wanted to go full-tilt with his genre-bending art or if he wanted to showcases it in bits and pieces, causing a retread, in some ways, of Indigo Child. And because of that, the album suffers a bit.
In short, the album fails to ascend to uncharted areas of the musical hierarchy. But, it's still a solid debut, if you can get past the confusion. He should be a force for years to come, if this attempt is any indicator.
Final Verdict: Stream before you buy