Lawless Element Soundvision: In Stereo

Michigan's Motor City has no shortage of rap talent and on their debut album producer/MC Magnif and MC Griot contribute 12 songs in the key of that stereotype. Their aesthetic is pure ’90s throwback to the boom-bap, delivering an airy sound bursting with the sound of soul. Beats are this disc's strong point; Magnif hugs the curves of golden era hip-hop, simultaneously flirting with De La Soul, early Slum Village and Pete Rock (minus the horns). The lyrics hold their own, but don't expect their verbal assaults to pummel you — that's not what LE are about. They're about riding the laidback rhythms on cruise control, representing Detroit with a tasty collection of tracks that while dope, are too passive to make the masses heads snap back like their predecessors. That is until, the ninth track and every song thereafter. Drums sound off, throbbing through the thick haze and shimmering walls of electro-noise, courtesy of J-Dilla. There's urgency that rears itself in the track's lyrics and continues to the end of disc — it's "Move Something" music that manifests a universal truth. (Babygrande)