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Ras Kass and Jack Splash individually have a higher profile stateside than over here in the UK, although their respective collaborations, production jobs and props read like a who 's who of Rap and R&B, whichever side of the spectrum you inhabit. Their new baby, Breakfast At Banksy's, is a big, funky mess of a record.

Splash has produced for dozens of 'big' projects by Kendrick, Mary J Blige, Sia and John Legend (as well as somewhat less celebrated joints by UK 'royalty' Natasha Bedingfield and Lemar). Grammys and production jobs for Christina Aguilera and Cee-Lo (who pops up here on the distinctly Cee-Lo-ish 'Sex Pistol') mean he's pretty much LA pool party royalty.

Ras Kass on the other hand has been through the ringer, serving time for cumulative D.U.I. raps while somehow also finding time to release a respected solo debut back in '96 (Soul On Ice) and work with everyone from Dre to RZA in the intervening years. He's a mercurial vocalist, a performer with a genuine masterpiece to his name ('Nature Of The Threat') and a paragraph-exploding rhythmic style that takes rap to its zenith - the performer as Greek Chorus, witnessing every distinct period in society's evolution enshrined within a single embattled body. It's a minor tragedy that he hasn't crossed over in the same way a host of his peers did.

The rapper's work with Apollo Brown on last year's Blasphemy played to his strengths; big, hymnal beats with the high-end drama that allowed the rapper to inhabit the mid-range, spinning the narrative truth. On Breakfast At Banksy's Splash tries out a confusing mash of genres, occasionally hitting on the perfect funky proscenium for his rapper ('Loogies'; 'I.T') and respectable stabs at 'issues' beats ('Niggnorance') as well as some shiny as hell post-Shabazz weirdness ('Waterboarding Tinkerbell'). Ras rises to the challenge magnificently, sounding more engaged with the beats than he has on recent efforts, riding in and out of drops and mixing up his delivery between club bangers and conscious raps.

The clubbier tracks play brilliantly to Ras' strengths, but whenever the tempo drops the album struggles. 'Heartbreak' is instantly forgettable. 'Stone Cold Hustler' sees Ras put in a heroic performance over a somewhat cod beat, summoning the spirit of Rakim for a track that really doesn't deserve the level of commitment he provides. 'Don't Hurt My Feelings' is a monster of a vocal over a messy as hell beat, at once louder and more jagged than everything else around it. 'Jesus Pressed Mute' rips the usual list of hate figures (Obama, corporations, evangelical racists) but, really, with a beat as un-cataclysmic as Splash lays down, Ras is trying hard to raise much more than a hopeless shrug.

When Breakfast At Banksy's is good, it's great ('Trunk Rock'; 'Gotta Get A Grip'). The record works more as a party rock experience than anything else. The pair talked in the build-up about aiming to make a back to basics, raw, rap record, and have partly accomplished that objective. A lot of the production is given too high a sheen to feel really raw.

The album peaks when Ras is displaying his vocal chops over beats that are happy just to let him roll; when the tempo drops it can feel like a struggle. Despite counting as a relative success, it's unlikely to get the mercurial vocalist the recognition he deserves just yet.

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