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Sleep | Hesitation Wounds

Strange Famous (2009)
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  June 16, 2009
3.0 3.0 Stars
On the subterranean-rap-hustle manifesto "Get It," from his new Hesitation Wounds, Portland (Oregon) MC Sleep rhymes, "I'll murder a set. . . . I'm kind of a big deal, you just ain't heard of me yet." This is especially true on the East Coast, where the prominent Oldominion crew that Sleep helped found a decade ago have yet to register with many heads who don't masturbate to rare Hieroglyphics album covers. That's unfortunate — especially for fast-rap aficionados who enjoy doseone tangents and Tonedeff mechanics.

A gifted motormouth with tangible content and metaphors galore, Sleep doesn't rap for kids who pretend they know what El-P is talking about. He represents the melodic underground, where beats challenge but rarely overpower. There's no sugar here, but spoonfuls of organic-sounding drums and choral hooks make his medicine go down smoothly.

It took six listens before Hesitation Wounds activated my neurons. (Okay, I was cruising for bangers on the first few spins.) As it turns out, Sleep's melodramatically symphonic third solo outing is intended as a front-to-back, all-or-nothing experience. That said, "Orchestra of Strangers" and "Lothar" with Del tha Funkee Homosapien could stand alone and maybe even excite the most pedestrian of hip-hop palettes.
Related: Review: The Roots of Hip-Hop, The Big Hurt: Billboard Top Hip-Hop and R and B songs, Photos: Timbaland at House of Blues, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Hip-Hop and Rap, Music,  More more >
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