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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

Although more exploratory and ambitious than his eponymous first band, incendiary guitar genius Ronnie Montrose's second group, Gamma, forever dwelt in the shadow of the landmark Montrose debut. In the early '70s, Ronnie Montrose left Colorado for California, and became known for his session work with Van Morrison and Boz Scaggs. He then rose to fame as Edgar Winter's axeman on the legendary They Only Come Out at Night. Wanting to call his own shots, Ronnie Montrose turned down an invitation from...
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