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Back in the mid- to late '80s, when hip-hop was still a relatively young art form, there was such a thing as rock-rap fusion -- but it sounded very different from the rap-inflected nu metal of the late '90s. It was more like hardcore punk or artsy post-punk with breakbeats, and the most popular practitioners of the genre were Faith No More. Zebrahead are a sort of rap-rock outfit owing far more to the old school than the new, but that adds the welcome element of solid melodic hooks to the mix. The result is music that you can sing along to, or rap along to, or mosh along to, or yell along to. This band started out in the ska-punk ghetto, and on its fourth album there are a couple of nods to the old days (most notably on the high-stepping "Anthem"), but mostly Zebrahead keep the sound in a heavy rock mode. There are nods to the Clash (listen to the verse on "Back to Normal" and think of London Calling) and to Rancid (the "out come the wolves" shout-out on "Karma Flavored Whiskey"), and there's the flat-out gorgeous heavyosity of "Wake Me Up." There are also one or two moments when the rap interludes fall a bit flat (notably on the string-laden "Your New Boyfriend Wears Girl Pants"), but for the most part this album succeeds admirably. Recommended.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 03:16 SpotifyAmazon
2 03:01 SpotifyAmazon
3 03:33 SpotifyAmazon
4 02:56 SpotifyAmazon
5 03:40 SpotifyAmazon
6 02:45 SpotifyAmazon
7 04:07 SpotifyAmazon
8 03:07 SpotifyAmazon
9 03:49 SpotifyAmazon
10 02:36 SpotifyAmazon
11 03:09 SpotifyAmazon
12 04:28 SpotifyAmazon
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