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Review: Rithma Music Fiction

Label: Om

Young Etienne Stehelin's debut album for San Francisco's Om blows a breath of fresh air through a somewhat stagnant electronic music scene. Pulling on a wide variety of influences-from rock to jazz to funk and soul-the 23-year old LA native's sound is the perfect antidote to these rough global times. Read more » 

Review: Jaylib The Official

Label: Stones Throw

You don't necessarily hear music made by Jay Dee and Mad Lib-you feel it. They're too busy living the moment with wobbly jazz loops, drunken snares, dirty handclaps and lyrics that tell it like it is. "The Official" is so stoned it can't walk a straight line, but it's still in charge of the battle like Tommy Franks. Read more » 

Review: Wildchild Secondary Protocol

Label: Stones Throw

World renown for his devastating lyrical skills, Wildchild has been blazing mics for over a decade, alongside his Lootpack cohorts and on various singles and collaborations. For his much-anticipated solo debut, he further proves himself as an "emcee's emcee," unleashing a torrent of complex yet funky wordplay throughout. Read more » 

Review: Lil Kim & Mr. Cheeks The Jump Off

Label: Atlantic

Yo, she's back! Risky lyrics? Of course, and they flow together with that always-hot Timbaland production like electricity and Benjamins (Franklin that is). Lace it with some Mr. Cheeks flav, and "Jump Off" your seat is the end result. Read more » 

Review: Bryan Gee The Sound of Movement

Label: Movement

You can't divorce drum & bass from the dancefloor, and The Sound of Movement shows why you would never, ever want to. The mix-by V Recordings honcho Bryan Gee-is 100% pure fire, kicking off with a jumpy remix of the Roni Size classic "Trust Me," and swerving back and forth between soaring vocal melodic numbers and rough, bassline-driven tracks. As the title suggests, it's an excellent representation of the kind of tracks and rapid-fire mixing that packs 'em in at the long-running Movement Thursday night at London's Bar Rumba. Read more » 

Review: Atomfunk Boogie Down EP

Label: Deepfunk

With singles to their name on Toko and Urbantorque, Manchester's Atomfunk selected L.A.'s Deepfunk for their latest release of classy, mature house music. Echoing the work of Salt City Orchestra, Attaboy and Dealer's Choice, "Boogie Down" resounds with warm chords, thick bass and strong melodies. Flip for a pair of less dubby but equally friendly cuts primed for the onslaught of summer. Read more » 

Review: Jaga Jazzist The Stix

Label: Ninja Tune

With track titles like "I Could Have Killed Him in the Sauna," it's clear that whatever their aim, Jaga Jazzist aren't taking themselves too seriously. Part freeform jazz, part electronic groove, part cinematic ambience, the album's pieces evoke an ephemeral sense of nostalgia. Propelled by breakbeat-style drum kits and upright bass rhythms, saxophone and bass clarinet riffs are interspersed with Aphex Twin-like electronic clicks, vibraphone and a range of electronic atmospherics. Read more » 

Review: MC Lyte Is Lytro Da Underground Heat Vol. 1

Label: SGI

With 15 years in the hip-hop game, six career albums and a greatest hits comp, MC Lyte was the first female rapper to turn out a gold single with the cult classic "Roughneck." With that said, if there were a university for female emcees, Lyte would be the dean. And though her machine-gun delivery is as present as ever on her seventh and latest release, that it was made in four days is quite apparent. Maad Phunk!'s production rests on overly tired loop production, which does nothing to pump up Lyte's lack of hook structure and trite lyrics focusing on her longstanding career. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists The Produce Section Vol. 1

Label: Wishbone

Wishbone Entertainment is a group of MCs, DJs, entertainers and activists loosely organized around a core known as Felonius. The Produce Section is like a tape of a weekend basement session, with Felonius bringing the loops and instruments, and a group of conscious MCs kicking it over the top just for the sheer joy of it. On "Protest," they reveal a sharp eye for aspects of politics that often go unnoticed, like the racial composition of the armed forces. "1234" takes the prize here, though, simply for featuring raps for unity in English, Spanish and German all in one track. Read more » 

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