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POP MUSIC | RECORD RACK

Little New, but That's Not All Bad

March 23, 1997|Cheo Hodari Coker

WARREN G

"Take a Look Over Your Shoulder"

G Funk Music/RAL/Def Jam

* * 1/2

It's been three years since Warren G emerged from the Snoop Doggy Dogg/Dr. Dre camp as a star in his own right, but he still focuses on the heavy-bottomed, Cameo/Parliament-Funkadelic aspects of the Long Beach sound. As a result, "Take a Look" offers few musical surprises. Still, G comes up with enough clever concoctions to maintain his reputation.

One thing is apparent: If you put crooner Nate Dogg anywhere near a Warren G track, the resulting chemistry will lead to a hit. "Annie Mae," the "Regulate" duo's latest collaboration, is more than up to form, as the two trade verses over a Prince-inspired track and a Snoop scratch chorus. It's too bad they didn't do the entire album together; Warren's teamings with other partners don't generate nearly as many sparks.

The only other truly special moments occur when Warren does what he does best: transform soft R&B fare into tracks with a hip-hop edge that's true to the West Coast streets. The best examples here are treatments of Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do With It" and Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff." The latter has clever, up-to-date lyrics and the kind of chutzpah that classic singles are made of.

*

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

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