"I keep coughing up butterflies," Ursula Rucker claims on "Humbled", the opening track on this, her third album. It is not the kind of thing that you would expect to hear from the American poetry-slam veteran, but it's small, surreal images such as this that lend Rucker's raps about social problems and black culture a power that is denied to many rather less ambitious hip-hop commentators. This is evidence, perhaps, of a more transcendent vision than the genre usually allows - hence the depth and maturity of her comments on such matters as the destruction of youthful dreams in "Children's Poem", the "obscene/divine" nature of sexual attraction in "Black Erotica", and the value of cultural ancestry in the Last Poets-style tribute to her forefathers in a track entitled "Libations". Best of all, though, is "Rant", an all-encompassing scattershot critique of attitudes towards drugs, sex, porn, war and life itself, crooned languidly over a terse backing track. Rucker doesn't play to the crowd in the manner of popular leisurewear gangsta clones, but rather casts their output in a different light, often through such cutting observations as: "Music is now an industry suffering from a lack of artistry."
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