Ursula Rucker, 'Ruckus Soundsysdom' (Five Six Media)

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Ruckus Soundsysdom
Critical Mass
Label: Five Six Media

by Mosi Reeves

On her fourth album, this Philadelphia single mom who closed the Roots' '90s albums with spoken-word elegies describing gang bangs, prison life, murder, and other urban woes is still delivering her blunt words with "no frills, no fillers, and noadditives." Challenging our obsession with machines and the Internet ("Tron") or telling off a former lover ("Thinkin' 'Bout U"), she sings in a sweet lilt and raps in offbeat cadences, with production help from house and broken-beat stalwarts King Britt and 4Hero's Dego. On "Read Between the Lines," Rucker even claims she's got a lighter side: "I'm not always lying in wait for the next problem to tackle / Sometimes, I tell jokes...and fuck."

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