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Lifesavas Spirit In Stone

As the name implies, Lifesavas have a distinctly redemptive vision of hip-hop: they're out to save us from the bran-muffin beats and wack rhymes that have cartwheeled other rappers to mass popularity. Spirit In Stone has the glib, convincingly rankled tone of Mr. Lif's I, Phantom-though Lifesavas's lyrics are less recondite than Lif's-and the instrumental panache of Solesides' Greatest Bumps. MCs Vursatyl and Jumbo the Garbageman know how to chop it up, whether they're cracking about MC egos ("HelloHiHey") or exhorting fans to fuck the system in every way possible ("Resist"). Musically, Lifesavas venture from crisp, funky boom-bap on the opening track, "Soldierified," to nimble jazz harmonies on "State of the World/Apocalypse/War;" DJ Reverend Shine's breaks veer from straight-no-chaser ("What If It's True?") to totally tripped-out ("Head Exercise"). In the end, Spirit in Stone is a meaty album for Lifesavas to cut their teeth on.

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