RJD2, Lyrics Born, Diplo

Since We Last Spoke, indie-rap mixmaster RJD2's latest, proves there's room for advancement in instrumental beatscaping post-DJ Shadow. RJ veers away from Shadow's encroaching-doom atmosphere and heads toward an inviting vision of funk-rock as fixated on texture as groove. What the album doesn't do is necessarily guarantee a good time tonight, since many of RJ's tricks are of the between-headphones variety. The same goes for MC Lyrics Born, who on record enlivens underground hip-hop's focus on the everyday but who onstage may just sound everyday. In case he's dull, arrive early to catch Diplo, part of irrepressible Philadelphia mash-up party-starters Hollertronix.
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Mikael Wood

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