Short Cuts

Robert Palmer, Lamb, Carl Hancock Rux

Like Scott-Heron 20 years earlier, Rux takes aim at everything from inner-city drug addiction ("Gut Bucket Blues," "Blue Candy") to hip-hop exploitation ("No Black Male Show"). While he does occasionally succumb to didacticism ("Wasted Seed"), for the most part this is a joyous record, one the sober messages of which are folded into delectable beats. If the Latin funk of "Miguel" doesn't get your hips moving, you're either deaf or dead.

Rux's music is intricate, beautiful stuff, a long-overdue return to hip-hop's roots, which lie not only in jazz and R&B, but in poetry and invention. -- Steve Almond

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