Run the Road
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Intimidating beats and aggressive MCs hold down the entirety of Run the Road, Vice's breakthrough compilation of England's surging urban underground. Most advocates of this abrasive blend of electro, dub and hip-hop are calling it "grime," and Run the Road will be fondly remembered in the year-end lists ritual for its varied canon of standout tracks. There are familiar names on Run, but a lot of merit goes to those voices previously unheard. Kano's blatant threats over synth-heavy, looming beats makes for one of the sharper numbers, and by the fourth track, this comp has already upstaged most of the United States' watered-down nonsense. On "Unorthodox Daughter," No Lay knocks down her counterparts with coarse schoolyard-bully fare that would make Ja Rule wet his sagging drawers. The playground is significantly less safe in central London with these unsettled types drifting about, but the craftiness of their intensity is nothing short of stunning.