A conceptual hip-hop act that also exists in the tangible world of the here and now, Stink Tank is a showcase for local producer/DJ Man Mantis and MC Laduma Nguyuza. The latter has been a mainstay of Madison hip-hop for many years. Projects with dumate (who also worked with Man Mantis), the D.L.O., Rob Dz, and many others established him as a lion of the small, fiercely dedicated local hip-hop community.
On Books on Tape he morphs into several different characters, including Dudu Stinks, Jimmy French Fries and (RIP) Mr. Parker. This is no gimmick, though. As he modulates his tone and his message, the multi-monikered MC builds the individual tracks into a rhythmically varied song cycle. And as he slips in and out of different characters, he covers everything from the malleable nature of the MC's persona to the experience of African American writers who've created and improvised while working in the language of the dominant culture.
It's a remarkable performance, one that's reminiscent in some ways of Kool Keith and his use of self-generated mouthpieces like Dr. Octagon, Black Elvis and Dr. Doom. Without question, Books on Tape is the kind of hip-hop disc that should get good notices far beyond our milk-drenched borders.