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POP MUSIC | Record Rack

*** CAPONE-N-NOREAGA "The Reunion," Tommy Boy

November 19, 2000|SOREN BAKER

In this reunion album of sorts, the New York duo picks up on the pleasurable path of its spectacular debut, 1997's "The War Report." Noreaga subsequently embarked on a solo career when Capone, whom he had met in prison, was incarcerated for violating his parole.

It's clear the time off hasn't hurt their chemistry, as each rapper still has a knack for playing off the skills of the other. The sometimes nonsensical, regularly offbeat, always entertaining Noreaga serves as the perfect match for the focused, smooth-flowing, even-voiced Capone. They spend much of their time rapping about life in the streets, but Capone adds plenty of commentary regarding his prison time and Noreaga injects a comedic flair breathe new life into what otherwise would be standard narratives.

These qualities are enough of a deviation from standard rap fare to restore Capone-N-Noreaga to the genre's elite. It also helps that the duo is backed by top-tier, consistently hard-hitting production from DJ Premier, EZ-Elpee and others. The dramatic beats create a captivating atmosphere that's hard to ignore.

*

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

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