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Lotek Hi-Fi

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Album Review

It's tempting to think of Lotek Hi-Fi as followers of Roots Manuva, the best rapper in Britain (no apologies to teenage wünderkind Dizzee Rascal) and a man whose Lord Gosh production style of basement hip-hop sounds very similar to this self-titled debut from Lo-Tek's five-man team. (Also, both artists record for Big Dada.) In fact, the members of Lotek Hi-Fi have a long pedigree in the distinctly British fusion of yardkore and rap. Wayne Bennett, founder of the group, produced several tracks for Roots Manuva, vocalist Earl J. is the son of Jack Radics, crooner Wayne Paul recorded several lauded singles during the early '90s, and toaster Aurelius claims one of the finest deep voices to grace a Big Dada catalog laced with them — think Toastie Tailor or Ty or Chali 2na. Lotek Hi-Fi, a nine-track mini-album, doesn't hit with the same force as Roots Manuva's classics, but this is a widely talented bunch. Imagine the varying lyrical concerns of Big Dada philosopher Ty multiplied by four, with a much broader palate of productions. "Voodoo Boogaloo" and "Under My Bed" are sparse, punchy productions with plenty of aggression but also an eerie quality that immediately impresses. Never overpowering but always intriguing, Lotek Hi-Fi embraces and unifies the long history of modern British reggae — from the Congos to Junior Reid to Roots Manuva.

Lotek Hi-Fi, Lotek Hi-Fi
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