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*** 1/2 KURUPT, "Space Boogie: Smoke Oddessey,"\o7 Antra/Artemis\f7

July 15, 2001|SOREN BAKER

This rapper gets equal respect from two usually mutually exclusive places in the hip-hop world: West Coast gangster rap champions and hypercritical East Coast purists. Part of this esteem is due to his extensive work with the universally accepted Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Beyond that, Kurupt earns points for his unbridled intensity and snarling attitude, two characteristics amply showcased on his third album (in stores Tuesday).

As with the majority of his work, the Dogg Pound member sticks to such gangster rap staples as eliminating enemies and exposing punks. But "Space Boogie" demonstrates that despite its familiarity, gangster rap will never lose its effect as long as it has the kind of punishing production showcased here. Fredwreck, Soopafly, Kurupt's longtime partner Daz Dillinger and others supply a brutal batch of beats that blends a Wild West element with some of the eeriest sounds this side of a slasher flick.

Kurupt takes detours from the gangster boulevard on the breezy "Sunshine" and the playful "It's Over." The latter, which features Kurupt's fiancee, Natina of the pop-R&B group Blaque, is one of the few missteps on this potent collection.

*

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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