As always, L.A.’s underground hip-hop heroes sound like a welcome throwback to rap’s politically conscious and musically diverse early-’90s period (De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Black Sheep). DJ Babu uses layered jazz samples, scratched vocal loops, and digitized sound effects to construct an updated old-school vibe. MCs Evidence and Rakaa spend plenty of time boasting, but also rap about the media (”Proper Propaganda”) and corporate hip-hop (”Trade Money”) and name-check Dorothy Dandridge and Mao Tse-tung.
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