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Short Takes: Music: Vol. 3…Life And Times Of S. Carter Jay-Z

1 minute read
Christopher John Farley

DMX presents himself as a hard-core rapper, but essentially he makes music designed to entertain suburban children. His rage-filled persona is too over-the-top to take seriously (he starts this album growling and barking) and his lyrics, (“Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Nigga!”) lack wit. On Party Up, he tries to craft a clubland anthem and fails. It’s not much fun partying with a guy who’s probably just gonna start a fight and ruin everything. Still, one song, What’s My Name?, does have a welcome sense of urgency.

Fellow gangsta rapper Jay-Z fares better on his new CD. Unlike DMX, he keeps his music uncluttered, and his lyrical flow is smooth and relaxed. There aren’t any great cuts here, but Things That U Do–with gentle guest vocals by Mariah Carey–demonstrates Jay-Z’s skill at creating a good, involving dance song.

–By Christopher John Farley

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