A few years ago, if someone had said that some of hip-hop's most innovative music would be coming from Kentucky, they would have been laughed at.

A few years ago, if someone had said that some of hip-hop's most innovative music would be coming from Kentucky, they would have been laughed at. But Nappy Roots are the only ones laughing now. The sextet of R. Prophet, Big V, Skinny DeVille, Scales, Ron Clutch and B. Stille follows up its platinum-plus debut with "Wooden Leather." Celebrating their Southern heritage, lead single "Roun' the Globe" follows up where "Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz" left off. So engaging is the Mike City-produced track that it will certainly have listeners clapping along as if they were at an old-fashioned hoedown. The group enlists Anthony Hamilton, who graced its Grammy-nominated single "Po' Folks," on two tracks ("Sick & Tired," "Push On"). Strong and smooth, "Wooden Leather" is indeed all it implies.—RH

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