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POP MUSIC | Record Rack

*** C-MURDER, "Trapped in Crime," No Limit/Priority

September 03, 2000|SOREN BAKER

Of all of the artists accused of borrowing 2Pac's style, none has enjoyed the critical and commercial acclaim of C-Murder. The New Orleans rapper, whose older brother is Master P, places exaggerated emphasis on individual syllables, as 2Pac did, and he uses some of the late rapper's vocabulary and imagery, but the two artists aren't as similar as you'd imagine. Where 2Pac oozed energy and regularly delivered politically charged raps, C-Murder mostly utilizes his intimidating voice and hard-hitting production to create one of the genre's most convincing gangster rap products.

On his third album (due in stores Tuesday), C-Murder adds some soul-searching and social commentary to his violent tales. The funky, soulful "Concrete Jungle," which features stellar performances from Snoop Dogg & Tha Eastsidaz, stands as one of the 24-cut collection's strongest, as each rapper details the outlandish means people will use to attain material goods. Nonetheless, it's his harder-edged work that shines. Mystikal joins him on the explosive "What You Bout," while Snoop and Magic team with C-Murder on the bouncy "Down For My N's." Producers XL, Carlos Stephens, Ke-Noe and others provide a steady stream of potent soundscapes that complement C-Murder's gritty vision.

*

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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