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Black 9
Black 9
Scotti Bros

Father/son teams in pop are rare. Eddie and Gerald Levert have gotten their R&B thing on, but in the world of rap, where it's easy to feel like a fatherless child, the tandem is unheard of. Until Black 9, that is. On its inaugural set, the San Fernando Valley duo kicks that G-funk thing, slow and easy. While Black 9 (Lamont Adams) flows like honey, Pops (Charles Alexander Adams), a.k.a. O.G., flexes gospel soul. Perhaps to demonstrate his independence, Black 9 essays pseudostreet jams like "Pimpin' Ain't Easy" and "Terrordome" but sounds unconvincing. On cuts like the Minnie Ripperton chestnut "Back Down Memory Lane," the combination clicks while sweetly swinging strings and gospel-derived vocals supply a nostalgia-filled cushion to bounce off of. Likewise, "Product of Society," though burdened with tired notions, is catchy. For all its hard-ballin', Black 9 contains no expletives. Hardly a groundbreaking effort, Black 9 is PG--as in pretty good. (Nicky Baxter)

Emily's Sassy Lime
Desperate, Scared, but Social
Kill Rock Stars

Pick your favorite trio. Zap them back to puberty. Instill with the nastiness and jollity that only frosh-soph hormonal imbalances can provide. Strap with bass, drums, guitar and a serious attitude problem. That gives you an idea of what Emily's Sassy Lime is about. This aggro, snotty punk-rock thing lands somewhere between Free Kitten and David Spade. The tweeter-heating "Transistor No Way" is redolent of the Kitten, but twice as feisty. "24 Hr. Ride" is bumpy as a runaway skateboard down a gravel driveway. Emily, in her snappiest high school drone, pulls the weave off of classmates on "Moneybag$" and "Kidstuff." The album is thick as oatmeal and, at times, just as plain, but the punked-up, anti-fi attitude gives it potential. Any band that chooses a complicated palindrome as a name gets props here. (Todd S. Inoue)

Zoo Records

Nature dumps metal, techno, rock and samples into a blender at high speed, viciously puréeing into a rhythmic and unapologetic concoction. The brash sounds found on Nature's self-titled album are the ideal soundtrack for a violent video game--the sort that teenage boys delight in. The songs are multilayered and complex, perfect for short sonic-attention spans. Brian Threatt sings with a coarse, heavy-metal sneer. "Zodiac 99" is about the famous Bay Area serial-murder spree, and Nature ironically abandons its chaotic raucousness for melody and form. Downing a bubbling mug of Nature's defiant offerings is no easy task, but having imbibed you're left with a ringing in your ear, a sense of burning ferocity that has you savagely whacking the repeat button again and again. (Bernice Yeung)

Prince Rahiem
On a Ride
4th & B'way

Not everybody from Florida is stuck on the bass tip. Rahiem doesn't nullify the boom, but instead of allowing it to dominate him, the rapper molds it to suit his purposes. On tracks like "Cop One, Smoke One," a Buddha-blessed number that is so smooth you've inhaled it without thinking about it, Rahiem shows that he's been tuning into the jazzy grooves of Brooklyn's finest: Guru, the Digables. Unfortunately, that cut is probably the best thing on the album. Not that there aren't other jammies worth cueing up; "Just Say Rah" and "Round and Round" both deliver muscular grooves improved by the presence of Rahiem's homey Total Kaos. And other tracks, while distinctively Floridian in some aspects--the Benzedrine rush of vocals, the click-clock drum machinations--still contain enough individuality to make them worth listening to. But "Party" and "That Old Funk" are kind of cheesy and retro. (NB)

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From the Dec. 21-27, 1995 issue of Metro

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