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RECORD RACK

October 02, 1994|Heidi Siegmund \f7

PARIS

"Guerrilla Funk"

Priority

* * 1/2

Two years after his album "Sleeping With the Enemy" revealed Paris to be one of the most intelligent, angry and uncompromising voices in hard-core rap, "Guerrilla Funk" finds the San Francisco native softening his music while maintaining his hard-core approach to lyrics. In doing so, Paris, who wrote, produced and even played most of the instruments on "Funk," is aiming at a pop-oriented audience that doesn't care what the message is.

Although such funk-heavy, radio-friendly jams as "It's Real" and the title track detail Paris' acerbic observations on the treatment of blacks in America, the songs might as well have been about gin and juice. He doesn't need P-Funk-style music to get his audience's attention. It's only when he abandons the generic funk sound that you're reminded that Paris is one of the most determined, authoritative rappers around.

On the steely "One Time fo' Ya Mind" he sounds like a revolutionary plotting his next battle, delivering the line "Brothers stick together" almost breathlessly, as if there's not enough time to explain everything. "Blacks & Blues," a track dedicated to America's "Gestapo police," and the autobiographical "Back in the Days" are Paris at his best--insightful and defiant. New albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four stars (excellent).

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