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POP MUSIC | RECORD RACK

In Brief

*** Various artists, "Money Talks" soundtrack, Arista.

September 07, 1997|Cheo Hodari Coker

This energetic collection shines throughout, from Pras' sharp "Avenues" and Puff Daddy's brooding "No Way Out" to Lil' Kim's sharp-tongued "Money Talks" and the impressive Next and Naughty by Nature collaboration, "Penetration." But it's Mary J. Blige and Rick James who provide the album's most interesting and emotionally vested tracks. Blige's beautiful reworking of Debarge's classic "A Dream" is her best vocal performance since the Babyface-produced "Not Gon' Cry," and James shows that his stint behind bars hasn't stunted his musical talent a bit.

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Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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Hear the Music

* Excerpts from these albums and other recent releases are available on The Times' World Wide Web site. Point your browser to: http://www.latimes.com/soundclips

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