Album: Roll Deep <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Rules &amp; Regulations, ROLL DEEP
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The Independent Culture

Despite having sold 75,000 copies of their debut album, hip-hop collective Roll Deep were dropped by their former label, Relentless, who claimed they wanted to focus more on K T Tunstall. The label may also have been influenced by the culture of fear that makes some promoters reluctant to stage grime shows. It's ironic, then, that the group's second album is one of hip-hop's most moralistic accounts of modern urban life, an articulate and thoughtful demolition of the armed outlaw myths infecting black youth culture. "You can be a bad man without a revolver," they tell kids lured by gangsta glamour, while in "Do This Ting", they sketch a grim portrait of love in a time of bad reputations. On "Respect Us", they even advise youths to stay in school and respect their teachers! But it's not all good advice: there's the usual complement of bigging-up, braggadocio and threatening behaviour - but no sexism, interestingly - and several skeletal, brutally infectious grime party grooves, cunningly created from minimal soundtrack phrases and, on "Celebrate", a lovely creaking African bowed-string loop. Rap album of the year?

DOWNLOAD THIS: 'Celebrate', 'Badman', 'Something New', 'Racist People'

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