If Lil Wayne indeed sleeps, there's little doubt as to the details of his particular dreamscape — it's ugly, heaving, hopelessly dark, and in constant flux at the hands of some serious demons. Aggressive, rhythm-bent voices pound in from all sides; wild, chirping sounds stab at the body; and time passes at simultaneous double and half rates. The rest of us should be so lucky. In lieu of true lunacy, we have dubstep — specifically, the Bug's London Zoo. On his Ninja Tune debut, U.K. producer Kevin Martin, an underground agitator since '97, wrangles a top-ranking set of vocalists to unravel their neuroses over a soundtrack that conjures images of Lee Perry stuffing Burial and Boards of Canada into a meat grinder. Old-school reggae toasters like Tippa Irie and Ricky Ranking sound renewed and deliciously demented here, and the baritone grime monster Flow Dan is well-matched by two tracks of jerky, effects-blurting beat-fuckery. But London Zoo's nastiest animal is Warrior Queen, whose "Insane" not only lobs a schizoid ragga Bug-bomb into the lap of imitators like Santogold but makes a mad dash on behalf of its mistress for an as-yet-unclaimed crown: that of the Nancy Spungen to his destructive majesty, Sid Weezy-ious.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.