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Hip-Hop Album That's for Kids Only

September 19, 2002|LYNNE HEFFLEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Audio

Dexter's Laboratory: The Hip-Hop Experiment. Rhino. CD: $7.98. Ages 5 to 12. http://www.rhino.com

Cartoon Network's star boy genius, Dexter, his pain-in-the-neck sister Didi and his rival Mandark are the inspirations for six original hip-hop songs, slickly produced and guaranteed to send droves of parents up the wall. The songs (mixed up in Dexter's secret lab), from stars Coolio, De La Soul, Prince Paul, Phife Diggy, will.i.am and YZ, include "Dexter (What's His Name?)," "Love According to Dexter," "Mandark's Plan," "Sibling Rivalries," "Secrets" and "Back to the Lab."

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Celebration of America. Music for Little People. CD: $15.98; Cassette: $9.98. All ages. (800) 346-4445; http://www.mflp.com

This eclectic tapestry of Broadway and rock 'n' roll, country, zydeco, folk and classical renditions of songs weaves a stirring tribute to America "from sea to shining sea." Among the 14 well-chosen tracks are Randy Newman's poignant "Follow the Flag," Ray Charles' bluesy "Swanee River Rock," and Paul Robeson's thrilling rendition of "Old Man River."

The album ends on an orchestral uplift: "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" with the American Philharmonic, and "America the Beautiful" with the National Philharmonic.

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