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Album Review

October 30, 1994|Ernest Hardy

LUCAS, "Lucacentric" ( Big Beat/Atlantic )***

Nothing else on this album quite reaches the level of giddy inventiveness showcased on the exuberant first single, "Lucas With the Lid Off," an ode to mental freestyling that blends hip-hop and swing for an infectious twist on the hip-hop/jazz union.

Its lyrical theme of smashing through self-constructed barriers is echoed in the production's gleeful crashing of musical genres, making it one of the year's best singles. Elsewhere, familiar hip-hop themes (forging an identity, striving for cross-cultural unity, etc.) are dealt with in grooves that coolly juggle ragged rhythms, hip-hop beats, thumping bass, jazzy piano and R&B flourishes.

On his 1991 debut, "To Rap My World Around You," Lucas was marketed as a pretty boy doing pop-rap. In reality, he's an inventive talent capable of stunning flows of imagination.

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four stars (excellent).

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