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POP MUSIC

Spring Album Roundup

VARIOUS ARTISTS "I Got the Hook-Up!" soundtrack No Limit / Priority

April 05, 1998|Brett Johnson

When you profess to have the hook-up, it indicates you've discovered an unspecified means to a coveted end. The thrill comes from something-for-nothing resourcefulness, and hook-ups are derived from a successful hustle, something for which rapper and mogul Master P is renowned.

The soundtrack album for his second independent film is testament to his entrepreneurial efforts. He's utilized his connections, gathering 21 new songs from 29 different artists including Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Ol' Dirty Bastard and Eight-Ball & MJG. But treats are few in this mixed-bag compilation of angst-riddled raps and whiny R&B melodies. Though the songs might work as singles, the project seems long-winded, lacking the cohesion that propels good soundtracks.

There are some gems, including the piano-driven "Ghetto Vet," on which Ice Cube brilliantly re-imagines himself as a thug crippled by underhanded dealings. On "The Game Made Me," Brooklyn's Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek and Sauce Money trade rhymes over sunshine-bright, cascading keyboards and sharp snare kicks, and a slouching blues-guitar loop rocks and sways U.G.K's "Bump and Grill."

But a lackadaisical Snoop Doggy Dogg solo and several urban survival raps are mere filler. This time Master P's hustle places quantity above sustained quality.

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

Wide Web site. Point your browser to: http://www.latimes.com/soundclips

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