Cannibal Ox

Blade of the Ronin

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When Samurais return in the real world, it's usually with considerably less power and importance, but there's no shame in the game of the 2015 edition of Cannibal Ox, and actually, there's plenty of pure fire. Back 14 years after their debut, and with producer Bill Cosmiq filling the shoes of the departed El-P, Blade of the Ronin comes shockingly close to the sound and the excitement of their 2001 effort The Cold Vein, and offers the same kind of combination of street knowledge and sweet punch lines, all delivered over rickety yet compelling beats. MF Doom, Elzhi, and U-God top the album's impressive guest list, while Cosmiq steps aside for one cut, handing the great "Blade: The Art of Ox" over to the skilled hands of Black Milk.

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