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Roots Manuva: Rolling Deep

Thank Dizzee and The Streets–now that the pressure’s off Roots Manuva to save the soul of UK hip-hop, he’s gone Awfully Deep and come back with his strongest album yet. Fresh off a UK tour with M.I.A. and his eight-piece band The Manuvadelics, the man born Rodney Smith talked with XLR8R after lights out at his Waterloo, London studio.


Jeff Samuel: Swing in That Minimal Thing

The schaffel swing that has infected minimal techno first broke out in Germany, but you’ll also find it in the bouncing funk of Seattle’s Jeff Samuel, who brings a distinctly upbeat swing to minimal techno’s dour outlook. But he’s not just biting the latest style from Europe–back in his native Cleveland, Samuel hit the techno parties that shaped the sound he displays on numerous 12” singles and the new Poker Flat Volume Four compilation. Read more » 

Somewhere: Barcelona, Spain

A debate rages among flamenco purists over whether the flamenco hip-hop of Ojos de Brujo belongs on stage with more traditional artists such as Paco de Lucía or at indie music festivals like South by Southwest, where the group appeared this year. Ojos mixes an array of random styles that hardly seem to go together: traditional flamenco, rumba catalana (the more upbeat, danceable cousin of flamenco), hip-hop, funk, and even beatboxing and scratching. Read more » 

Isan: Mastering the Art of the Dark

Long before Berlin’s Morr Music established itself as the Playmobil to Warp’s Lego, Scotland’s Isan was making pastel-colored, melody-driven electronic music of its own. Comprised of fellow gearheads Robin Saville and Antony Ryan, the duo has been swapping tapes since 1993 and releasing them under the Isan banner since 1997. Read more » 

Daddy Yankee: Super Fina

Daddy Yankee stands in front of a weathered three-story block in the Villa Kennedy area of San Juan, inside the government housing project where he spent his teenage years. Boricuas–the term used by Puerto Ricans to describe their Taino Indian heritage–peer at him from behind brightly painted iron grills. Shoeless kids with long limbs and Bambi eyes zip across the streets staring coyly. Homeboys with immaculate cornrows cruise past, nodding appreciatively from beat-up Chevys. Friends of all ages lean out of trucks to holler “Yankee! Read more » 

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