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Amir Sulaiman Like a Thief in the Night

Def Poetry Jam performer Amir Sulaiman is the latest activist/spoken-word artist to kick his unabashed poetics via hip-hop. On his new album, Sulaiman confronts the harshest realities of life with oft-ferociously delivered wordplay. But it's not just this poet's intensity that will catch your ears. On the jazz-tinged "Make It Through," Sulaiman calms his usual growl as he reaches out to women caught in hazardous relationships-not by offering false hope, but by calling it like it is. Because he refuses to beat around the bush, Sulaiman's confrontational poetry-hop has scant mass appeal. But anyone who's willing to put his or her thinking cap on would be wise to cop this.

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