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RECORD RACK

* * * * Great Balls of Fire * * * Good Vibrations * * Maybe Baby * Running on Empty : : Whodini? Who Cares?

November 22, 1987|KRISTINE McKENNA

* * WHODINI. "Open Sesame." Arista. New York trio Whodini is being marketed as the sex symbols of rap, but if there's anything sexy about their stultifying, boring music I've yet to discover what it is. Every song on "Open Sesame" conforms to the letter to the Generic Rap Song we've been hearing ad nauseum for the past few years. Whodini employs the same lumbering brontosaurus beat, the same schoolyard chant cadence, and the same vocabulary of slang. And of course, as with all rap music, Whodini's entire aesthetic begins and ends with the notion of self-promotion--"I'm the deffest cat, I'm gonna rock the house," that sort of thing.

The fact that there's nothing remotely innovative about Whodini hasn't prevented them from becoming stars, and their fourth LP looks to be their biggest hit yet. The success of this pro forma record is surprising, but even more so is the lengthy shelf life of rap as a whole. The musical parameters of this simple, bare-bones style are fairly rigid, and the formula has already been twisted into every possible configuration. At this point carbon-copy rappers are popping off the record company assembly line by rote--and will no doubt continue to do so until the money stops dribbling in. Whodini is the latest installment, no better or worse than the rest.

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