at least they are consistent. . .

Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Big Beat)

By Kory Wilcoxson

The Artifacts, Tame One and El the Sensai, fancy themselves as relics. They are throwbacks to an era of rap when the delivery was the thing and the beat took a backseat to the rapper's vocal stylings.

The Artifacts do a solid job of reviving that approach, letting the ear train on their smooth trade-offs and minimal beats, expertly produced by a host of guest producers.

The drawbacks to the Artifacts are that they are strong but not necessarily ?ashy, and their songs tend to run together in the mind. There's nothing that makes any one song stand out. Although consistently solid efforts are respected, they are not always wildly popular.

If the Artifacts have staying power, some fans may eventually be won over. But in the topsy-turvy world of rap, such lofty goals are the stuff from which broken dreams are made.