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In Brief

*** REDMAN, "Malpractice," \o7 Def Jam\f7

May 20, 2001|SOREN BAKER

Within hip-hop circles, this New Jersey rapper is regarded as one of the elite. It's a position well-earned and definitely deserved--his zany stories and twisted sense of humor always make for engaging songs. As one of the few rappers who successfully merges funk sensibilities, hard-core posturing and stand-up comedy punch lines in his work, Redman stands unchallenged as the king of rap dramedy.

The Funk Doctor (as he's also known) lives up to his lofty standards on his fifth album (due Tuesday), cleverly reworking a tune from The D.O.C. on "Diggy Doc" and slamming through a rowdy club cut on his single "Let's Get Dirty (I Can't Get in Da Club)." His "Soopaman Luva" franchise extends its enjoyable run, while "Lick a Shot" features dazzling verbal gymnastics.

Lean production by Erick Sermon, Rockwilder and others gives Redman lots of opportunity to flex his impressive abilities. But for all of his brilliance, "Malpractice" makes two common hip-hop missteps: an overabundance of lengthy skits and too many guest appearances by inferior rappers.

*

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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