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Record Rack

November 20, 1998|NATALIE NICHOLS

** 1/2 Various artists, "Chef Aid: The South Park Album," American/Columbia. This collection is teeming with new tracks by alternative, rap and pop stars, including some surprising collaborations you won't hear anywhere outside the peculiar world of the animated cable series. Drawing from an episode in which the "South Park" kids organize a benefit, the album (in stores Tuesday) features the four brats cutting loose with Wyclef Jean on his subversive nursery rhyme "Bubblegoose." But Cartman's epic, squalling rendition of Styx's "Come Sail Away" takes the joke way too far.

Between these extremes are "Kenny's Dead," Master P's uninspired reworking of Curtis Mayfield's "Freddie's Dead," bland tracks by Devo and Rancid, edgy techno-funk from Perry Farrell & D.V.D.A. and the genre-crushing confab of Ozzy Osbourne, DMX, Ol' Dirty Bastard and the Crystal Method.

But what the album's really got going on is soul legend Isaac Hayes as the voice of Chef, that cafeteria love sage who can't help bursting into lascivious song in front of the children. "South Park" co-creator Trey Parker twists up the hot buttered lyrics, but Hayes' guileless delivery and lion's purr make sublime parody out of such licentious funk numbers as "Simultaneous." Seriously, guys, instead of "Chef Aid," this should have been "The Chef Album."

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.

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