DJ Z-Trip's proper debut album tips a Kangol to hip-hop and electro pioneers but lacks the imagination to push those lessons forward, so it's up to the disc's dozen guests to generate some traction. Lyrics Born's infectious party growl ("The Get Down") and Chuck D's snarling polemic ("Shock and Awe") do the job admirably. But even Busdriver's backflipping flow can't save "Take Two Copies," and if you ever wanted to know how far Depeche Mode would fall if Dave Gahan were replaced with Linkin Park's Chester Bennington, "Walking Dead" is your chance. Sadly, Shifting Gears rarely gets out of first.

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Michael Alan Goldberg