Ursula Rucker

Silver or Lead

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Silver or Lead makes it more than apparent that Ursula Rucker still has a lot to say -- and she's getting her points across better than ever, with the type of control over delivery that can convey the deepest pain and the most boiled-over rage in a confident whisper. On "Untitled Flow," she takes aim at gangsta rappers: "Ain't gotta spit no gun click sh*t, 'cause life is hardcore 'nuff." On "What a Woman Must Do," she conveys the frustrations of the contradictions in the ways that women are treated and viewed: "Be called a muse, which is just a synonym for use/Put upon pedestals, dainty and protected/And because of that disrespected, Victorianized." Some of the productions that back Rucker (from the likes of 4hero, Masters at Work's Lil Louie Vega, the Roots, and King Britt) are so strong that they're deserving of being heard as instrumentals. Even when her voice is at its most relaxed, the listening is intense as hell -- it's not the kind of album you'd put on before going out, unless going out involves a rally or a march. So it'd be nice to be able to focus on the sounds a little more (most especially the delirious edits of the Jazzanova-produced "This"), making them all the more versatile in the process.

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