Les Nubians

Princesses Nubiennes

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Fans of Zap Mama, Sade and/or Soul II Soul will probably flip for this sister duo from Bordeaux, France. Though they tend to get billed as a hip-hop act, their music is much more complex than that: it's smooth like Sade (but much more melodically interesting), bass-heavy like Soul II Soul (but much more lyrically interesting), and "Afropean" like Zap Mama (but much less interesting; sorry ladies). "Demain," the lead-off track on Princesses Nubiennes, is a smooth jazz groove that is more tasty than nourishing, but there's a fair amount of both textural and lyrical complexity to "Makeda." "Tabou" is actually an adapted (and, frankly, much improved) version of Sade's "Sweetest Taboo" that features some excellent French rapping. "Embrasse-Moi" is both excruciatingly sexy and highly rhythmically sophisticated. Sure, they have a mildly distressing tendency to layer everything with an ultra-smooth surface sheen, but it's forgivable; chances are good that they'll rough things up a bit as they mature. In the meantime, just give up and wallow in the succulent loveliness of tracks like "Demain" and "Les Portes du Souvenir."

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