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Touré Guide: A Different Hip-Hop

Touré, the single-named author of Never Drank the Kool-Aid (Picador; softcover, $15), doesn't have a problem getting close to his interview subjects; he gathers tales over games of hoops with Prince and Wynton Marsalis and proves that proximity is everything when it comes to getting to the core of stars' psyches. Read more » 

E-40: Tell Me When to Blow

When I finally catch up with E-40 after two weeks of phone tag, rescheduled appointments, and missed connections, the first thing he does is apologize. "I ain't had time to crack a sunflower seed," he offers. It's a memorable turn of phrase that makes me laugh out loud (and remind myself to use it early and often). His timing is dead-on; the delivery is perfect, effortless. But that's just the way Earl Stevens talks.

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Shy FX: Still Funky

On "Don't Rush," from Shy FX and T Power's new album, Diary of a Digital Soundboy, R&B vocalist Di reprises the smooth sound that made the production duo's ubiquitous "Shake Ur Body" a smash three years ago, this time singing an ode to taking it slow ("We don't need to rush/Love will wait for us"). Read more » 

Growing: Hardest Working Drones

Close your eyes and imagine that you're in an igloo. You're all by yourself. It's pitch black. Then you start to hear the sounds in your mind, rekindling the sensations of love, life, death, and suffering. Open your eyes. You've just experienced the cerebral din of Kranky Records' ambient guitar drone masters, Growing.

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Deerhoof: Sonic Grenade

Mixing bits of rock ‘n’ roll ammunition with nursery-rhyme vocals, San Francisco quartet Deerhoof taps into something explosive yet comforting, a sonic grenade thrown into the field of all things cliché in music today. With their seventh release, 2005’s The Runners Four (KRS/5rc), fans met a newer, fresher, and more mature version of the band.

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