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Tuesday, 24 June 1997 |  Written by Jason Karsh  | 
Wyclef Jean - Presents the Carnival Featuring the Refugee Allstars artist: Wyclef Jean album: The Carnival format: CD, label: Ruffhouse/Columbia Records performance: 8 sound 8.5 reviewed by: Jason Karsh All right, we admit it, this album's been out for months and we're just now getting with it. The rap--no pun intended--on Wyclef has always been that he's been carried by The Fugees' Lauryn Hill, 'the only real rapper' in the group who 'carried them to their success.' So pervasive was this idea that there has even been a public outcry for her to ditch the trio and go solo. Still, she said it would never happen, the group said it would never happen, and they provided a united front. True to those roots, even as Wyclef goes semi-solo there are no known plans for a break-up and Fugee brethren Hill and Parkazrel 'Pras' Michel are the co-executive producers of this album. An album which thankfully never sets out to prove that Wyclef is a great rapper.
Tuesday, 17 June 1997 |  Written by Jerry Del Colliano  | 
Capone-N-Noreaga - The Capone Report The War Report, Penalty Recordings | Performance 8 | Sound 7.5 | Imagine a meeting of two of the more infamous criminal minds in history. Add a dash of thug life, a tablespoon or two of twenty-something aggression, and boil with a subtext of racially polarized America and you'll begin to understand this album. Then, perhaps you'll be able to take a shot at comprehending the title figures in this seventy minute return to beats and rhymes.
Tuesday, 17 June 1997 |  Written by Jason Karsh  | 
Ben Harper - The Will to Live artist: Ben Harper function popUp(URL,NAME) {,NAME,'location=yes,scrollbars=yes,status=yes,toolbar=yes,resizable=yes,width=380,height=450,screenX=10,screenY=10,top=10,left=10'); amznwin.focus();}; document.write(""); document.close(); album: The Will To Live format: CD label: Virgin Records performance: 8.5 sound 8.5 reviewed by: Jason Karsh What do you do with an artist who's too alternative for 'adult contemporary' and not enough twang for country? Someone who's got far too much soul for 'alternative' and just enough folk to miss R & B? I empathize with the plight those marketing this album have. However, if you ever wanted to have an accurate definition of 'alternative music' this would be it. A singer/songwriter and a band that slip through all the labels at your local record store. Ben Harper is hard to file away. And his album is harder to dismiss.
Tuesday, 17 June 1997 |  Written by Jason Karsh  | 
The Lost Boyz - Love, Peace & Happiness Love, Peace & Happiness Universal Records | Performance 6 | Sound 6 | I once read a review of a soundtrack featuring an L.B. song which said that if you wanted to know what that song sounded like you should go pick up any of their albums and play any cut, implying that it's impossible to discern one L.B. song from another. Well, I won't go that far, but I will say that you either like this group or you don't. You know what you're getting before track number one even starts to spin. In this respect, they're similar to say Gangstarr, or A Tribe Called Quest, you either want to by their albums or you don't. And while singles such as "Summer Time" and "Me & My Crazy World" may be more radio friendly, don't be fooled the Lost Boyz are unchanged as ever. For my part, though, I've never found the Lost ...
Tuesday, 03 June 1997 |  Written by Jason Karsh  | 
Wu-Tang Clan - Wu-Tang Forever Wu-Tang Forever, Loud Records | Performance 9 | Sound 8.5 | If you like rap--not bouncy radio-diluted hip-hop, not some guy rapping a remake of a seventies hit, but actual M.C.-ing you should, at the very least appreciate the Wu. Think about actual raps over tightly mixed beats, think about buying this album. The only act in rap that can not only field nine M.C.'s, but juggle them successfully finds record store shelves with their second album and it is simply too good to be ignored. Yes it is a double-disc, but the Wu's got rappers to fill the bill. Hardly a number passes without a verbal display of microphone mastery by one or more Wu brother, superior RZA production, or both.
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