Roadkill Overcoat (Epitaph)

Remember when Slug and his indie-rap vehicle Atmosphere signed to Epitaph a few years ago, and everyone was like "What are you doing on a punk label?" Since then, Epitaph and its imprint Anti- have built an impressive stable of left-of-center hip-hop artists.

Busdriver, the Los Angeles MC with perhaps the most tongue-tripping flow in the game, is now part of that group, and Roadkill Overcoat, his fifth album, shows he was ready to make the jump. Producers DJ Nobody and Boom Bip help him continue the moderation of his more outré musical leanings begun on Fear of a Black Tangent. In fact, some of these songs have a surprising pop core, giving Busdriver more room for his abstract-jazz flights of lyrical fancy.

But two areas he hasn't toned down are his willingness to bite the hand of his lefty fan base and his sense of humor. The Bush-basher-baiting "Kill Your Employer" covers both bases in what's one of the best early singles of '07 . If you've missed out so far, time to get on the Bus.

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