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*** P. DIDDY &THE BAD BOY FAMILY, "The Saga Continues ..., "\o7 Bad Boy/Arista\f7

July 22, 2001|SOREN BAKER

Naysayers, be warned. The man formerly known as Puff Daddy has released a thoroughly satisfying album. That is not a misprint. This is a quality hip-hop collection with plenty of swagger, grit, sure-shot singles and a decidedly upbeat outlook.

Riding high on the street-level success of "Let's Get It," also featuring G. Dep and Black Rob, and the irresistibly funky "Bad Boy for Life," which showcases Black Rob and Mark Curry, P. Diddy rockets back to respectability after his lackluster second album, 1999's "Forever."

Of course this isn't a one-man show. The controversial rap mogul is joined by one of his label's artists on nearly every song and superstar associates on others. White-hot producers the Neptunes join him on the playful "Diddy," while Memphis icons 8Ball & MJG showcase their legendary lyrical skills on the seductive "Roll With Me."

Despite headliner status on the project, P. Diddy doesn't even appear on several of the tracks, including the somber "Can't Believe," which pits crooners Faith Evans and Carl Thomas against one another in a love-themed tug-of-war and samples Dr. Dre's bleak "Phone Tap."

*

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

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