Incognegro

Incognegro

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It'd be easy to compare Incognegro to that other organic hip-hop crew from Philly, the Roots, but differences do reveal themselves. Basically just a three-piece of MC Uh-Oh, DJ Smoove, and keyboardist Gungi Brain, Incognegro aren't quite a hip-hop band like Stetsasonic or the Roots, though Smoove's well-chosen scratches and samples beef up the sound considerably. And Gungi Brain's cascade of shimmering keyboards almost bests one of the current masters -- the Roots' Scott Storch -- at the jazz-funk-lite treatment, especially on the lead-off track "Keepin' It Lovely." Much of the rest of Incognegro focuses on paranoid basslines and grungy sampling from Smoove (case in point: the detuned heavy-metal guitar on "Shotgun Shack," and the excellent choice of the Clash's "Brand New Cadillac" to provide a focus to the song of almost the same name) -- to anchor MC Uh-Oh's raps. Though Incognegro seem to function at only two speeds, either fusion-lite or dark Wu-Tang-style melodrama, there are few disappointments here.

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