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Southern rappers second serving

Nappy Roots

Nappy Roots - Wooden Leather
(Atlantic Records)
3 stars (out of 5 stars)

Reviewed: Oct. 20, 2003

Review by Tony Bonyata

On their 2002 debut Watermelon, Chicken and Gritz the Kentucky rap act Nappy Roots gave new hope to those that thought that rap music was either a genre steeped in violent street politics or Marshall Mathers blather. With a loose, organic delivery and lyrics more interested in a big ol' plate of pork chops, greens and gravy than bling and the Benjamins, this fresh Southern-fried style of hip-hop definitely helped expand rap's limited menu beyond merely East and West Coast.
But now, following the huge success of their previous album, the Benji's have been rolling in and judging from their follow-up effort Wooden Leather it sounds as if they may have lost a bit of their once healthy appetite. While still retaining much of their drop bass-lines, funky grooves and smile-inducing front porch cred, it also feels like they're missing some of the dirt of their own Dirty South.
Without the immediate hooks of previous songs like "Awnaw," "Country Boyz" and "Ballin' On A Budget" present here it might seem that their second serving could use a little of Emeril's notch kicking. But with numbers such as the introspective R&B of "Sick & Tired," the deep funk of "Good God Almighty," the quirkiness of "Twang" and infectious beats of their first single from the album "Roun' the Globe" Nappy Roots still proves to be one of the tastiest acts in the rap world.
While the "whole damn world" may not be "country" as Nappy Roots proclaims on Wooden Leather, it's refreshing to hear that, at least, the world of rap is moving in that direction.

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