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Ursulal Rucker Silver Or Lead

This Philly native's sophomore album has an admirable aural scope, featuring beats from respected producers in the fields of nu-jazz (Jazzanova), house (Lil' Louie Vega) and hip-hop (The Roots). Rucker's poetics are consistently incisive, testifying to the black female experience in these turbulent times. The standout track here is "Untitled Flow," wherein the vocalist rides King Britt's echo-laden electro backing and defiantly reminds us that her "rhyme is sweet but deadly." Maybe so, but Rucker's phrasing is frustratingly uniform, devoid of riddimological quirks and emotional inflection. In Foxy Brown's hands, Rucker's revolutionary words would uplift the masses.

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