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Mystik Journeymen
4001--The Stolen Legacy

Once only available at underground hip-hop shows, Mystik Journeymen's full-length cassette has finally been neatly pressed for mass consumption. The technology is strictly primitive--four-track mixology at its best--which lends 4001 its raw edge. Older tracks like the rugged "Never Forget" and "Body and Mind" bounce along with newer numbers like "Give It Up" and the autobiographical "Depths of Survival." The Journeymen relish their underground credibility, openly dissing major labels, booking their own shows and putting out their own exploratory material--a hip-hop version of Fugazi. They recorded a ton of new material while in Japan, so pick this record up while you still can. 4001 is a suitable introduction to a rap duo destined for greatness. If your favorite record shops don't carry it, demand it, or order it directly from the source: [email protected]. (Todd S. Inoue)

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Eivets Rednow
Eivets Rednow

Despite such projects as Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants, Stevie Wonder is seldom associated with straight-up jazz. Eivets Rednow provides some of the reasons why. Like its title ("Stevie Wonder" spelled backward!), this album is a genuine curiosity. First released in 1968 when he was still "Little" (18, in fact), Eivets finds Wonder rendering charmingly schmaltzy harmonica-blown versions of "A House Is Not a Home," "Never My Love" and that great jazz standard "Alfie." The latter was actually released as a single in the summer of 1968, and did respectable business, at that. Even at the time of its creation, Eivets Rednow would've never been confused for the hard stuff; most of these tunes sound like they were arranged by Henry Mancini or pop-jazz king Quincy Jones (circa the '60s). But in spite of its schlocky MOR trappings, Eivets Rednow is a genial workout, a "gotta-geddit" for Wonder completists. (Nicky Baxter)

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Sherri Etheredge

Fire All Your Guns at Once
Play It Again Sam

Magnapop rebels against clichéd, subpar pop with Fire All Your Guns at Once, a four-track EP that blasts aural cavities with bright beats and swirling melodies. Ruthie Morris' charged guitars leave ear drums tingling, and Linda Hopper's vocals, liquid-smooth and laced with edgy malice, sting like provoked hornets, while Shannon Mulvaney's pogo-ing bass provides solid "rhythmelodic" foundation. The slower-paced "Down on Me" involves leering vocals and repeating arpeggios. "Voice Without a Sound," with its killer-instinct melody and bouncing echo singing, is a definite billboard-climber. Like its three companion tracks, "Voice Without a Sound" stabs with precise rhythms and biting lyrics. (Bernice Yeung)

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Tha M.O.B.B.
Never Trust Them H*e's

Oaktown's Tha M.O.B.B. (a.k.a. "Money Over Beggin' Bitche$") hooked up about three years ago. Like expatriate prince of pimp-hop Too Short, and East Bay rap in general, the crew shoots that straight street stuff. Never Trust Them H*e's (Bounce Records) is, as the group itself proclaims, "ganksta." The sonics are ultraminimal--bass-y synth lines, canned drums and ... well, that's pretty much it. On "Summertime," Tha M.O.B.B.-sters loop up the melody line from Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" and pop a little 'hoodie relaxant groove, but elsewhere, black-on-black anarchy in the U.S.A. prevails. Thematically, however, bullets, beat-downs and bitches have played themselves right outta here. Besides, the subjects have been dramatized to greater effect by the likes of N.W.A., to whom Tha M.O.B.B. owes much of its lyrical flava and aural rap sheet. Along with RBL Posse, E-40, I.M.P. et al., this trio defiantly hoists the "fuck a hoe" flag for profit. And fuck the people. (NB)

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From the July 11-17, 1996 issue of Metro

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