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Common Market, ‘Tobacco Road’ (Hyena)

“This ain’t a place for a man of faith,” raps RA Scion on his duo’s ambitious debut album. The Kentucky-born MC inhabits two roles — a Christian preacher struggling to manage a Southern farm and a Northwest B-boy navigating the music industry — while his twisty parables mix radical politics with bleak confrontations between the working man and the system recalling a John Steinbeck novel. Despite the complexity, DJ/producer Sabzi (also of Blue Scholars) tethers the MC’s sharp-elbowed observations with folksy samples and bluesy soul beats.