Music Reviews


In The Red

Ninja Tune

Face it: back in the day, when it came to hip-hop, those Brits simply could not represent. It didn’t stop them from trying, but we all pretty much wish they hadn’t. Derek B. sucked worse than Davy D. and the best British MCs were Slick Rick and Dana Dane … Exactly. And, while Monie Love was cute as hell, that’s definitely not a skill – especially on the mic. However, things are looking up over on the other side of the Atlantic.

Dynamic Synco Pation is the South London team of the Loop Professor and Jonny Cuba, who, along with The Herbaliser, is trying to bring England’s hip-hop scene to life – or at least up to American standards.

But In The Red is not a U.K. spotlight for its own talent. Instead, D.S.P. hopped from the U.K. to the U.S. and back to offer up this schmoove album. Citing Premier, Pete Rock, and Diamond D. as influence, this duo definitely has a head-nod as opposed to the booty-bounce feel. On the British side, they bring us a superior female rapper with Eve.On and Phi-Life Cypher with their Rza-sounding battle rap that would make LL and Kool Moe Dee simply run screaming for the convent. On our side, the fellas bring Chill Rob G back from the grave for “Bullshit” and “Imagine That.” Mass Influence makes two appearances on the album, too (sometimes sounding like Brother J. Funkin’ Lesson) as does Dell Wells. And Apathy scores a serious ringer with “Trife-A-Saurus Rex.”

While I’m definitely not ready to proclaim British hip-hop as having arrived, I think I like this NAFTA/GATT approach, melding American and English for a much better product than, say, What Colour Our Flag?

Ninja Tune:

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