Angela Lewis on pop music

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The Independent Culture
In an ideal world, British rap music would take off on the club dancefloors and then in the charts in the way that Britpop has over the past two years. But, sadly, that's all just a dream. Constantly, homegrown rap crews fall down in several crucial areas: not enough grassroots fans, no label cash, low self-esteem, and a lack of self identity.

No wonder The Brotherhood (below right), a south London trio who seriously look like they've got the goods to go far, fight shy of recent press forecasts that they represent a breakthrough in British hip hop. There are too many problems for over-optimism. But the debut album by Spyce, Shyloc and Mr Dexter, Elemental, is stunning. They have clear, atmospheric tunes. They rap in London accents. They say their dark, minimalist beats are the soundtrack to gloomy British weather and standing on the football terraces, not shoot- ups in the 'hood South Central-style.

At a recent London show supporting New York's Genius, from the infamous Wu-Tang Clan, The Brotherhood had to work hard to warm up a slightly chilly crowd, but they looked confident, and won over cynical ears and eyes. They may not want to carry the weight of heavy expectations on their shoulders, but their attitude over the past couple of years has been sound enough to give the scene the shot in the arm that it needs. Let's at least have faith that the revolution is beginning to rumble.

The Brotherhood, Camden Dingwalls, London, NW1 (0171-491 2480) 3 Apr