Economic Food Chain Music

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On his second solo album, California-based rapper LMNO (it stands for Leave My Name Out, also the title of his 2001 debut) delivers more ideas per minute than a lot of mainstream rappers, and is as passionate about progressive politics as the average Pacifica Radio host. And, encouragingly, his beats have improved considerably since his samey debut. "1888," produced by Discreet Merchants, is a highly enjoyable barrage of old-school synth sounds and orchestral stabs that occasionally hit pure atonality, and "(More) Pawn (Than) Don" and "Thankster Boogie," both courtesy of Ohno the Disruptor, turn cut-up phrases and deliberately mismatched beats into a crazy-quilt groove that shouldn't work but do. The problem, as on Leave My Name Out, is that LMNO is an indifferent rapper at best, and at times, a genuinely awful one. "1888" ruins its entertaining musical setting with an awkwardly phrased, painfully stilted flow of lazy rhymes. LMNO could undoubtedly write a thoughtful and entertaining blog, but as a musician, not so much.

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