March 19, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST
We gave it a B+

No longer a punchline, U.K. hip-hop has become an artistic (though not an economic) force worth recognizing. More proof arrives in the form of the slickly soulful Upwards, the sophomore release from London rapper Ty. Representing for not only his country but the entire Commonwealth, Ty rounds up sounds from the pan-African diaspora — Afro-funk, Jamaican dub, and Latin shuffles — and then changes continents in a flurry of deft syllables.

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