Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Roni Size/Reprazent

  • New Forms [Talkin' Loud/Mercury, 1997] **
  • In the Mode [Talkin' Loud/Island, 2000] A

Consumer Guide Reviews:

New Forms [Talkin' Loud/Mercury, 1997]
in the mildly overrated tradition of Massive Attack and Soul II Soul ("Digital," "Electricks") **

In the Mode [Talkin' Loud/Island, 2000]
Size is the most "r&b" of the big junglists, which means not that he knows Booker T. & the M.G.'s by heart, although he may, but simply that he (a) likes content, and (b) prefers black American pop to black Detroit electro. When he indulges himself, he doesn't dream symphonies like Goldie--he channels Chaka Khan and the Wu. "To me, New Forms was a skeleton of ideas which was sifted around in our heads, in our scene," he says. "This is the flesh and the skin. We've definitely put the skin on it." And underneath--muscle, ligament, cartilage, cardiovascular circuitry. The album moves the way you always hope jungle will, like a cross between a tiger and a snake, yet it's also a kind of mix record, with five showcases for Reprazent's serviceable MC Dynamite, who's as useful as the inevitable Method Man in the crucial matter of providing rap sounds. Size has his own Chaka, too. Her name is Onallee, and she takes the record out. A