Portland, OR quartet Animal Farm draw inspiration from hip-hop's golden era for sophomore album Culture Shock. Resident producer/MC Gen. Erik crafts sample-heavy, melodic beats while he, Hanif Wondir, Fury and Serge Severe flex fluid, old school flows. Single "Test of Time," with Talib Kweli, deserves rotation at your next b-boy battle, while Project Blowed rep Abstract Rude kicks a welcome 16 on the reggae-inflected "Music For Idiots." Animal Farm shine on BBQ-ready tracks like the buoyant "Back in the Days," but struggle with weightier issues ― the ham-fisted social critique of "G.U.N.S." is especially cringe-worthy. Listeners seeking game changing beats and rhymes should keep looking, but Culture Shock's merry rhymes and soulful production are a sure shot for rap scholars. Fans of Ugly Duckling, Jurassic 5 and People Under the Stairs will find much to savour here.
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