Afu-Ra

Body of the Life Force

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Five years after debuting with a few rhymes on Jeru's The Sun Rises in the East, Afu-Ra released his full-length debut, Body of the Life Force. Though his first single, 1998's "Whirlwind Thru Cities" (also included here), shows the influence of Jeru, elsewhere he's definitely his own man. Optimistic and spiritual where Jeru was aggressive and metaphysical, Afu-Ra has dozens of good lyrical ideas, though he often phrases the same way, with a heavy focus on multiple internal rhymes à la Rakim. Fortunately, there's a parade of solid productions lending variety, led by Muggs on "Soul Assassination" and DJ Premier on "Mic Stance" and "Defeat." Afu-Ra also invited a few guests, and the collaborations are welcome: GZA matches wits on "Bigacts Littleacts," Cocoa Brovaz and Jahdan show up on "D&D Soundclash" (Afu-Ra's salute to his roots at the legendary D&D Studios), and Wu-Tang's Masta Killa leads him into hardcore territory for "Mortal Kombat."

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