Natasha Stovall
August 20, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Brooklyn’s Arsonists lift musical inspiration from the Wu-Tang Clan and Dr. Dre, but lyrically these five MCs are in a league of their own. Complex, humorous freestyling is their specialty, and they apply it liberally to menacing, minor-key piano hooks and mellow, head-nodding beats. Though many elements will sound familiar, songs like ”Pyromaniax” — which sets jet-speed verbal japes over Fats Waller- cum-organ-grinder oompah — show the Arsonists have fresh ideas to burn.

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