November 01, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST

Extra Yard

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Various Artists

British rap that doesn’t suck — who knew? With prole poet Mike ”the Streets” Skinner, urban griot Ms Dynamite, and EXTRA YARD, a compilation-cum-manifesto from the progressive Big Dada label, a revolution seems under way in the U.K. The heady rhyming on Yard blends Anglo-Caribbean patois and hip-hop Esperanto (see how ”tallyho turns into ho tally” on Ty’s ”Shake It Up”), while the music shuffles dancehall bass farts and asymmetrical garage beats into thrilling, off-kilter grooves. The production techniques are avant-garde and populist, and though some of the rappers sound green, the best — like Infinite Livez — sling with a uniquely British style. MVP: scene godfather Roots Manuva, whose grimly romantic ”Dreamy Days” will never be covered by Barry White (”Can you picture past the honeymoon?/Where you beat me with the wooden spoon?”).

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