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Tame One When Rappers Attack

Label: Eastern Conference

Coming back from the wrong side of the tracks is the Artifacts' Tame One, giving indie hip-hop a much-needed dose of back-to-basics rhyming. Considering how long it has been since he's had product out, Tame has very quickly knocked the dust off his flow, updating it with a few more multisyllabic rhymes. His delivery shows that he hasn't missed a step during his hiatus, as he confidently kicks clever metaphors like I register game like "Jon Schecter." Unfortunately, the production isn't up to Tame's level-the tracks range from plodding and boring to mediocre. Read more » 

abicah Soul Meets GU S/t

Label: Big 50

Chicago dons DJ Stax and Glen Underground go the laidback, Latin-jazzy route over three tracks that emphasize Stax's shuffly rhythms and GU's smooth synth improv. Although some parts of "Negro Yosoy Peligro" fall into the cheeze column, it's all good in face of the thumpy "Esta Hermosa Cancion." For the lounge, where we all need to be at points. Read more » 

Daily Planet Why You Wanna

Label: All Natural

Chicago's twin rhymers Allstar and Spotlite enlist fellow vocal soldier Iomos Marad and producer Dug Infinite to follow up their masterful debut, "We Like to Party," with another banga. These kids just don't play when it comes to confident, laidback flows that dispense with haters and industry booshit. Backed by Dug Inf's smooth beats, the Daily's styles'll keep ya watchin' like Miramax. Tune in, sucka. Read more » 

Family Tree Tree House Rock

Label: All Natural Inc

Chicago's Family Tree crew has been building up a rep for making solid tunes. This compilation illustrates that, though it isn't without some skipworthy tracks. The production, largely by the criminally underrated Molemen, is consistent throughout, heavy on the boom-bap and buoyed by creative samples. And there's plenty of great scratch hooks courtesy of Tone B. Nimble and DJ Precyse. The rapping, on the other hand, has a few dead spots. Take, for example, "Horse," featuring Mr. Greenweedz and Allstar. Read more » 

Various Club Bogaloo 2

Label: Spinning Wheel

Celebrating the fifth anniversary of their highly regarded club night, Club Bogaloo present their second compilation of exclusive cuts from the high quality selection of artists who have graced their decks. Their tag line, "more freestyles out of nowhere," is certainly apt, as this collection moves with customary European style from the deep bossa jazz of Ian Simmonds's project Wiseintime, through the deep house of Jimpster, to the string-laden jazz of Reunion. Read more » 

Buju Banton Friends For Life

Label: VP

Buju Banton is the Don Dada of dancehall, period. When he traded in his gruff, sexually explicit toasts for soul-stirring roots reggae, he proved he was a champion there too. Friends For Life will become a classic because it crosses musical boundaries, with stops in hip-hop, r&b and African rhythms. Collaborations with Bounty Killer, Beres Hammond and Fat Joe are indicative of the musical journey this offering travels. Here is a mature Banton-Afrocentric, contemplative and apparently no longer a sexist. Read more » 

Badd Inc. Luxury Excess Extravagance

Label: Mogul Electr

Being "camp" isn't nearly as easy as it looks, a lesson that electroclash don Larry Tee has seemingly yet to learn. On this hastily compiled disc, Tee and his merry band of Brooklynites plant the final nail in the coffin of nu-wave, a movement dead from an overdose of irony. While some in the scene have teased brilliance out of their chintzy synths and rigid grooveboxes, the Badd Inc. artists (including girl-group W.I.T.) can't muster a single memorable hook between them. This isn't funny anymore. It's just plain sad. Read more » 

Death In Vegas Scorpio Rising

Label: Concrete

Beginning with their second album, 1999's The Contino Sessions, Death In Vegas have been more psychedelic rockers than dance-music producers. Scorpio Rising, Richard Fearless and Tim Holmes' lighter, more hopeful follow-up to that morbidly dark work, continues their trip into mind-altering rock. Similar to David Holmes and Massive Attack, DIV act as conceptualists for a large, rotating cast of star singers (Liam Gallagher and Paul Weller, among others) and session players. Aided by legendary violinist L. Read more » 

Mockey In Mesopotamia (J.D. Slazenger's edition)

Label: Gomma

Before they ran away to start their own dirty electro circus in Berlin, Peaches and Chilly Gonzales were in a punk band called The Shit, of which Dominic Salole, a.k.a. Mocky, was the drummer. Now an ex-pat in Holland, Mocky, too, makes freaky lo-fi 'lectro kitsch on In Mesopotamia, but it's the added hip-hop value that sets him apart. His Snoop-style MCing is notably pimp on the more straightforward beats of single "Sweet Music." Elsewhere, Mocky's abstract initiatives juxtapose spastic samples with mellow bourgeois ballads. Read more » 

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