Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Latyrx (Lateef & Lyrics Born)

  • The Album [SoleSides, 1997] A-
  • The Muzapper's Mixes EP [SoleSides, 1997] **

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Album [SoleSides, 1997]
Lyrics Born is deep and contemplative, Lateef speedy and confrontational, and together--on DJ Shadow's heads-up lead track, simultaneously, with only a balance knob and some small print between you and the crash of your rhyme-processing program--their playful mastery has no parallel in today's rap. Not all that many precedents, either, although it's significant that several aren't ghettocentric: early De La, 3rd Bass. They take more pleasure in words themselves than in tales, messages, explicit content. That granted, note that Lateef's riff on "those that talk most got the least to say" merits all the attention it gets, and that Lyrics Born's "Balcony Beach" is rap at its most spiritual--motherfucker actually seems wise. Except on the predictable boast tracks toward the end, their language elevates the music even when homeboy Shadow isn't producing, as he usually isn't. A-

The Muzapper's Mixes EP [SoleSides, 1997]
endorsing Alice Walker and Ray-O-Vacs ("Lady Don't Tek No," "The Bumpin Contraption [The Recalibration]") **

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