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Album Review

Although British electronic music has long given nods to American hip-hop culture via the gangsta posturing of jungle or the head-nodding tempos of trip-hop, it took an absurdly long time for an island with such a large population of hip-hop consumers to come up with a true hip-hop export worth mentioning. Fortunately, when the Brit-hop scene did finally take hold, it possessed its own cultural subtleties that can be more fresh and invigorating than its overplayed American counterparts. Permanament is an album that would never find favor with American audiences, and it is better for it. Because while the production work by Shadowless has the easily recognizable RZA tendency for minor chords, it is dirtied up to a gritty mishmash of sounds that is proudly part of parent label Ninja Tune's Wall of Sound approach to hip-hop music. MCs Blacktude, Aleem Juice, and Lord Redeem all rhyme with a British-accent-meets- Caribbean-patois, courtesy of their island heritage. This makes for a cadence that is more musical than the straight ebonics of U.S. rappers. And as a unit, the trio shadowboxes like the best moments of Jurassic 5 before coming together for the chanting choruses. So street they don't have to proclaim it, Gamma is the overseas alternative in a country that is equally as saturated by P. Diddy as the U.S. is.


Formed: London, England

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s

British rap trio Gamma formed around a pair of Birmingham MCs, Juice Aleem and Blackitude (aka Ebu). The two were down in London for a rap battle when they met Lord Redeem, a native of the capital who had also spent time in Texas while growing up. The trio began rapping together, though Gamma's debut (on the flip of a 1999 Roots Manuva single on Big Dada) featured just Juice and Ebu. As a trio, their debut was the 2000 single Black Atlantian, also on Big Dada. They followed later that year with a...
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Permanament, Gamma
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