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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.
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Chris Martins
Contact: Chris Martins

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