New Flesh

Equilibriums

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The debut LP for the three-piece British crew New Flesh for Old certainly qualified as foreign rap, but from the sound of it, hardly even sounded like it was created on this world. Tracks featured a nearly hoarse ragga shouter (Toastie Tailor) trading rhymes with a metaphysical dramatist (Juice Aleem) over a barrage of tough tech effects and cellar-level beats that sounded as though lifted from outer space. Equilibriums certainly owed few debts, whether to diggin'-in-the-crates hip-hop or digital rap of the Timbaland variety. It had the rough-edged reverb of ragga, effects with the sound of rusty pipes. Of any in the rap world, their style was closest to Company Flow; it had the same cold, alien production sense (harsh in a completely different way than DMX or Eminem), but was remarkaly focused, rarely sounding as deliberately difficult as El-P and crew. Toastie Tailor shone on nearly indecipherable yet immensely powerful tracks like "Invisible Ink" and "186000 Miles," while Juice Aleem matched the lyrical and verbal skills of Gift of Gab (from Blackalicious) on his standout, "Adoration of Kings." Meanwhile, Part 2 programmed cold, funky beats and filled in all the gaps with ominous, paranoid samples from a variety of sources. One of the best, most distinctive debuts in the brief history of British rap.

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