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King Britt 

Adventures in Lo-Fi (BBE/Rapster)

Remember those old "Are You Bourgie?" posters found at college campuses back in the '80s? "Bourgie," which was shorthand for bourgeois -- referring to those who straddle the top end of the blue-collar social scale and the lower end of E. Franklin Frazier's proper Negro caste -- was used as a low-level dis back then. Now, after listening to King Britt's Adventures in Lo-Fi, we're not so sure. If OutKast is hip-hop's P-Funk, the Neptunes its Quincy Jones, and Ja Rule its Freddie Jackson, then Britt is Dexter Wansel, crafting jazzy, mind-teasing productions for the offspring of the Reagan era's Champale-drinking set.

Which isn't a bad thing. Britt knows his strong point -- bobbing beats laced with swirling keyboards and head-candy textures -- and who to get to rip the tracks. The tugging Mosez Gunn vehicle "About Face" and Dice Raw's "Rise and Vibe" represent on the head-nodding end of Britt's style. Bahamadia ("Transcend") and French-language verbalists Miss Saigon and Lady Alma tip the scales toward Britt's languid, soul-fusion heart.

Adventures in Lo-Fi has clearly defined limits in terms of approach and timbre. It's not going to send folks back to the lab, but it's no better or worse than most stuff out there. Activator, anyone?

More by Tony Green

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