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POP MUSIC | RECORD RACK

Warren Beatty: Master of Rap

The director has spearheaded a soundtrack that gets the mix just about right.

*** VARIOUS ARTISTS "Bulworth: Music From the Motion Picture," Interscope

April 19, 1998|Brett Johnson

"Bulworth's" director and star Warren Beatty marries these iconoclastic blasts of hip-hop with the movie's like-minded story of a status quo-bucking politician. Though the idea of Beatty enlisting rap artists might sound nightmarish to some purists--sort of like your parents deejaying your sweet 16 party--he got most of the mix right by having the soundtrack's executive producer Karyn Rachtman pair some of hip-hop's most respected voices.

Dr. Dre and LL Cool J trade playful, sexually charged lyrics over a semi-sinister beat on the opening track, "Zoom." The sneer of New York underground king Canibus and the angelic tenor of Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour complement the sweet-and-sour, Wyclef Jean-produced "How Come." The scathing title track, featuring an all-star lineup of Mobb Deep's Prodigy, KRS-One, Method Man and Kam give their scathing commentary on cops, racist music publications, and politicos.

The remainder is a mixed bag. Annoying, radio-friendly cuts from the Fugees' Pras featuring Ol' Dirty Bastard and Mya and Teddy Riley offshoot Nutta Butta featuring Anonymous undermine compelling solos from Witchdoctor on the hypnotic "Holiday/ 12 Scanner" and the fugitive rhymes of Cappadonna ("Run") and RZA ("The Chase"). It's proof that rap's pop posturing can soften even the most rugged verse.

*

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

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