Second album from Philadelphia roots poet and nu-soul star

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Ursula Rucker – Silver Or Lead

“Don’t underestimate me ‘cos I do poetry?my rhyme is sweet but deadly,” Ursula Rucker warns us on “Untitled Flow”. After emerging from Philadelphia’s fertile spoken-word scene, she first grabbed public attention through her work with fellow citizens The Roots, later refining her soulful blending of rap, poetry and scat on her 2001 debut album, Supa Sista.

Her follow-up record, Silver Or Lead, follows a similarly rootsy and righteous path, with Rucker’s fluid rhymes set against musical backdrops that range from ambient house to Afro-Latin as crafted by the likes of Jazzanova, 4 Hero and The Roots. Rucker’s boldly conscious poetics do occasionally smack of self-righteousness, but Silver Or Lead nevertheless confirms her status as a vibrant and refreshingly forthright voice from the hip hop underground.