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Lee Fields Problems

I've considered Lee Fields's "I'm the Man" to be one of the finest pieces of new-school funk for years, and finally it's on an album, surrounded by songs of equal quality. Comparisons to James Brown are inevitable given Lee's vocal style, but Problems is much more than an attempt to ape the Godfather. The production is perfect for this material, full of grit and open spaces, and-perhaps with a nod to future samplers-there are open drumbreaks galore. Lee's songwriting shouldn't be overlooked, either, as his attempts to bring social awareness to the dancefloor come off like early Public Enemy if P.E. had played funk instead of sampling it.

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