Consumer Guide Album
Unsung Heroes: Unleashed [75 Ark, 2000]
When underground rappers talk true to their school they mean they got no new beats, and unlike the great punk bands, they're rarely delighted enough by the old ones. Making no claims on anyone else's truth or roots, this U.K.-based transatlantic consortium achieves no-school simplicity freshly and effectively--with slantwise piano figures, brief guitar riffs, solid bass lines, and well-aimed scratches and samples that evoke DJ Premier and get a shout-out from Roy Ayers. The raps, a dozen or so voices pursuing a single understated aesthetic, also stick to the basics. Check the opener, in which thwarted legend Rob-O explains/demonstrates why/how he's "Magnificent," and proceed.