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Keep Their Heads Ringin’ (Fool’s Gold

Records) Freely dis­trib­uted mix­tapes have be­come a sure­fire way for DJs and rap­pers to launch ca­reers, and they of­ten count as in­no­va­tive al­bums in their own right. Quite dif­fer­ent from tra­di­tional CDs, mix­tapes steal swaths of ma­te­rial from other artists, latch­ing on to a pop­u­lar beat if it suits their cause. Tele­phoned, the some­time duo of DJ Sammy Ba­nanas and R&B chanteuse Mag­gie Horn, tweak the mix­tape for­mat on their freely dis­trib­uted down­load mix. Tak­ing their cues from child­hood games of tele­phone, the two cover — rather than sam­pling — a bevy of top 40 hip-hop/ R&B artists (Gucci Mane, The Dream, Gyp­tian) along­side their own takes on clas­sics by Led Zep­pelin and The Cure. Thanks to Horn’s sul­try voice, these cov­ers avoid the fate of be­ing dance­floor nov­el­ties and are in­stead en­dowed with a sweet sad­ness. Led Zep­pelin’s “What Is and What Should Never Be” gets trans­formed into a bit­ter­sweet early-’90s house-mu­sic stom­per. “Le­mon­ade,” rapper Gucci Mane’s throw­away ode to le­mon-scented cannabis, sim­i­larly be­comes some­thing epic and awe-in­spir­ing thanks to some riffs lifted from the noise­pop band Sleigh Bells. Not ev­ery track sus­tains the same qual­ity of fu­sion, but this is a lovely ex­per­i­ment, swad­dled in nostal­gia for the ’ 90s era of raves and un­abashed sen­ti­men­tal R&B.

— Casey Sanchez

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