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Live from the Styleetron

Raw Fusion

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Album Review

When Money-B came out with his side project Raw Fusion, it was clear that the Digital Underground member wasn't trying to duplicate Underground's sound. Parts of Live from Styleetron are as quirky and eccentric as Underground, but while Underground was heavily influenced by the 1970s funk grooves of George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic, Fusion had more in common with jazzy alternative rappers like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul and the Jungle Brothers. The production is interesting, and Raw Fusion keeps things unpredictable by sampling everything from jazz and funk to reggae. Humor is an important element of cuts like "Traffic Jam," "Nappy Headed Ninja" and "Ah Nah Go Drip," which pokes fun at the jheri-curl hairstyle that was popular in the 1980s. But the CD takes a more serious turn with "Wild Francis," the tale of an inner-city woman who grows up to be a Marxist revolutionary and is killed in a confrontation with the police. Some of Money's associates from the Underground are on board, including Shock-G and Humpty Hump, but again, no one's going to mistake Styleetron for an Underground album. With Styleetron, Money saw to it that Raw Fusion was a strong rap act in its own right.

Biography

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s

Raw Fusion was a low-key Digital Underground side project driven by that group's Money-B. 1991's Live From the Styleetron, the group's first album, featured cameos from 2Pac, Shock-G, and Saafir, and it broke away from Digital Underground's proclivity for Parliament/Funkadelic-derived goofiness with production values that were closer to the Jungle Brothers/A Tribe Called Quest end of the spectrum, with liberal dashes of reggae shadings (dub, dancehall, roots). Featuring cuts like "Don't Test" and...
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Live from the Styleetron, Raw Fusion
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