David Browne
August 28, 1992 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Heavy Rhyme Experience: Vol. 1

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
genre
Hip-Hop/Rap

We gave it a B+

The Brand New Heavies: Heavy Rhyme Experience: Vol. 1 (Delicious Vinyl) Last year, a segment of MTV’s Unplugged showed that rappers like L.L. Cool J and De La Soul could forsake samples and turntables for a live band and still cook; Heavy Rhyme Experience: Vol. 1 takes that concept to the next level. The idea: Have a bunch of rappers do their thing with the Brand New Heavies, a British funk group that knows its way around congas, wah-wah guitars, and slinky organs. The results: a jumping hip-hop album on which everyone from dancehall rapper Tiger to streetwise cutups Black Sheep meshes beautifully with the Brand New Heavies’ ’70s black-exploitation-movie grooves. A band may never be a substitute for a pulverizing drum sample, but tracks like Kool G. Rap’s gangsta tale ”Death Threat” prove that rap played by live musicians can slam nearly as hard as anything out of Compton. B+

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