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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Spank Rock

Spank Rock (2006) YoYoYoYoYo

One of the best surprises of 2006, Spank Rock appear to revel in contradictions, reflecting the party rap atmosphere of Baltimore's club scene, and arrived as one of the best things to happen to both underground hip-hop and dirty rap, a pair of styles that rarely intermingle.. Rapper Naeem Juwan and production phenom XXXChange are an American group who record for the British flag-waving label Big Dada (Roots Manuva), their tracks accept the limitations of old-school rap and bass music, but boast an agility that makes them sound positively post-millennial. Juwan may sound like Q-Tip, but he's one of the brightest young American talents of the mid-2000s, using his voice in delightful ways. Meanwhile, on the production, XXXChange concocts a series of deep bass hits, digital claps, and the occasional cougar scream to recall the type of stark, echoing productions and drum programming rarely heard since the mid-'80s. It's all performed so perfectly, and informed so well by Juwan's lyrical finesse, that the vintage feel never seems like a crutch. Best of all is "Bump," where first Juwan takes a few minutes for a speed rap, then guest Amanda Blank enters halfway through, initially giving one of her stiffest Roxanne Shanté impressions but, in a heartbeat, shifting into a higher gear blowing away the competition.

1. Backyard Betty
2. What It Look Like
3. IMC
4. Rick Rubin
5. Touch Me feat. Typical Cats
6. Bump feat. Amanda Blank
7. Sweet Talk feat. Typical Cats
8. Chilly Will
9. Top Billin' From Far Left
10. Coke & Wet
11. Competition
12. Screwville, U.S.A.

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