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Rap-rock quintet Nullset started out as Gangsta Bitch Barbie in the Boston suburbs back in the late '90s and rapidly got noticed for their ferocious groove-heavy sound and blistering live performances. That notoriety resulted in a minor setback when a cease-and-desist order arrived from Mattel Toys, manufacturer of the legendary, aerodynamically impossible doll, and so Gangsta Bitch Barbie was forced to retool as Nullset. No matter. With a sound this hard-hitting, Nullset would reach thirsty ears regardless of their name. They combine the raw, political aggression of Rage Against the Machine with the most heavy metal of the early '90s grunge bands for a bowel-shaking, take-no-prisoners attack that makes today's multiplatinum rapcore bands look like kindergarten fare. By the way, the band members bristle at comparisons to groups like Limp Bizkit, as well they should; the only thing Nullset has in common with such outfits is an allegiance to '70s power rock, metal, and rap; ideologically, they're coming from a completely different place. In 2001, Nullset came out with their second EP (and first on Grand Royal), Smokewood.

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