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  Listen Up! 2/6/02 Listen Up!

Wednesday, Feb. 6

Rockhouse Ramblers, "Juke," no label yet. Here I am sitting on one spectacularly good album, and you can't even buy it yet. The St. Louis country band is shopping this around to labels, and they haven't got a deal for it yet. When they do, you'll be able to hear 13 high-quality classic honky-tonk styled country songs played by a band with the loosest, jumpinest rhythm section, two incendiary guitarists, and three soulful vocalists. I didn't think they could top their debut album of two years back, "Bar Time," but guess what? This one is even better.

Busta Rhymes, "Genesis," J Records. These beats are hard, the finest examples of testosterone-fueled hip-hop going right now. The album is relentless, with Busta proving his masculinity at every turn. Not that you really need so much testosterone, but there is a pleasure in the way he revels in it, bathes in it even, that is seriously enticing. It's like the thrills of a good old-fashioned heavy metal band; you get caught up in the intensity, in the tightly focused way in which the world is reduced to a simple howl of pleasure/anguish relating to one's own manhood. It annoys me there's nothing on this album I can play on the radio without getting in trouble for language, because the ways are pretty exciting in which he twists the rhythms around the words "motherfuckers" and "niggers" and "bitches."

--Steve Pick



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