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Spittin Image 

Broken Mirrors (DeepThinka Records)

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Aside from some profanity -- it is hip-hop, after all -- Spittin Image's Broken Mirrors is a good reflection on the upbringing of these four white guys. MC Krossword's parents are jazz singer Angel Rossi and drummer Jack Hanan. MC Verbal's mother is N.Y.C.-based jazz singer Nora McCarthy. His dad has a record collection deeper than Lake Erie, and young ace beatmaker and track-stacker Fitt-e has been to the bottom of it. A quick taste of Blood, Sweat & Tears' "Spinnin' Wheel" is just the tip of this cool platter.

That thoroughbred background is the source of one crisp sample after another: schmoove horns, singing strings, buzzing guitars, and twinkling keyboards. The boys are still working hard to develop a voice -- they drop an urban cliché for every original line -- but the fresh words are worth it: "I can't imagine having no imagination," spits Verbal in "Take This." He's not just braggin'.

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