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In 2012, with his second album for Mad Decent, Christopher Mercer, aka Rusko, intended to push the envelope on a genre that was increasingly becoming commonplace. When boiled down to its bare essence, Songs is a dubstep album with the wobbly bass bombs to prove it, but Rusko tackles 14 tracks with 14 vocalists and takes on all sorts of styles, including Top 40 pop, '90s house, grime, jungle, ragga, and even lovers rock reggae. Amidst all the territory covered, the underlying thread of dubstep is predictable, since Mercer's collaboration with Britney Spears helped introduce the genre to the mainstream -- but his decision to flip the script with what he calls his "anti-brostep" album doesn't seem like such a stretch once you realize how effectively he can mix a wealth of musical styles into 2-step. It's just as natural to hear the sub-bass drops in a Rihanna pop song like "Dirty Sexy" as it is in the Sly & Robbie-esque "Skanker." All of the music is well executed, and the Leeds College of Music grad shows that he is a rabid music enthusiast who knows his history, and isn't afraid to have some fun bringing it to the surface. This is the perfect type of album for people who think dubstep is too singular and great proof that there are still possibilities for expansion in the genre.

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