Ninja High School

Ninja High School shoots for a middle ground between pop culture's flash and trash and agitprop's polemical slash and burn. The arty rap/rock band from Toronto hoists Eighties synth squeak, early No Wave sax noodling, and booty-bouncing Miami bass beats atop rapid-fire lyrical rants laced with politics, wicked humor, and good-natured profanity. "Jam Band Death Cult" rides a proto-Motown beat to deliver a denunciation of prog-rock while proclaiming that NHS makes the only music worth listening to. "It's Alright to Fight" is the dark, belated answer to the Beastie Boys' "Fight for Your Right." Shouting the catchy refrain, "You're going home in a fuckin' ambulance!" the bandmates attack all the frustrations — political, personal, and cultural — that spur blind anger and frustration. "Shake It Off" uses a one-drop riddim to denounce the conformist mentality that turns every revolutionary movement, including hip-hop, into a commodity. The low-fi production gives the tracks a gritty ambiance that adds plenty of punch to Ninja's snarling guttersnipe diatribes.

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J. Poet