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It's no insult to say that the latest from ManeLine, one of Denver's true hip-hop mainstays, is old-school. Indeed, the refusal of Mane Rok, InkLine and DeeJay Tense to emulate the trendy production techniques of, say, Just Blaze or Danja is one of the album's strengths. The arrangements are big and busy, not stripped down and spare, on the likes of "Ain't Real Ain't Right," whose hook is reinforced by the efforts of an entire children's choir. As for "All Alone," the sound harks back to hip-hop's jazziest era via horn splats, guest star Venus Cruz's energetic wails and a chant that includes the line "C'mon, Colorado, what you want us to do?" Speaking for the state, don't change a thing.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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