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September 12, 1993|JONATHAN GOLD


"The World Is Yours"


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Gangsta rap, the ultra-violent style of crime-rhyme widely reputed to have died somewhere around 1991, is still one of the most popular genres in pop. Artists such as Dr. Dre and Too Short sell records in a quantity that would bring a grin to Bruce Springsteen's mug; rappers unknown outside their small regions, such as Ganksta N.I.P., nonetheless go gold. "The World Is Yours," the latest from lead Geto Boys rapper Scarface, entered the Billboard album chart at No. 7, which is pretty good for a guy without enough name recognition to get a table at Spago.

He documents it all here, Mr. Scarface--murder, robbery, his facility with an AK-47 submachine gun, even how he cajoles a girlfriend to put out for a pal--with funky, bouncy beats and enough edgy weirdness to leave civilized rappers like 2Pac in the dust.

Scarface fancies himself a dangerous schizophrenic, and, indeed, he may be the rapper you'd least want to entrust with a loaded Mac-10. But, although Scarface's work with the Geto Boys revolves around his creepy, distinctive drawl, most of "The World Is Yours" sounds too much like Ice Cube outtakes, all pissed-off ranting, project-life narratives and one-dimensional takes on Cube's patented halting flow. Scarface is not an untalented rapper, but this album might be approximately to the Geto Boys oeuvre what Wings was to the Beatles.

New albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). Five stars (a classic) is reserved for retrospective albums.

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