Paris' music provocative and pointed

December 04, 1992|By J. D. Considine | J. D. Considine,Pop Music Critic

SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY

Paris (Scarface SCR007-100)

Bush Killa," in which rapper Paris fantasizes about de-electing the president, may be the most controversial track on "Sleeping With the Enemy," but it's by no means the most provocative. Because Paris isn't interested in killer rhymes -- he's talkin' 'bout a revolution in the truest sense of the term. And to that extent, the fuss over "Bush Killa" and its cop-killer companion, "Coffee, Donuts and Death," distract attention from the album's real agenda: urging African-Americans to take down the white-controlled capitalist system that keeps them in economic slavery. And though it's doubtful many listeners will be swayed by Paris' arguments, his music -- particularly the title tune or the dense, swirling "Conspiracy of Silence" -- is tough to ignore.

UNCUT DOPE

Geto Boys (Rap-a-Lot 57183)

Forget the gripes about gutter language and verbal violence -- the real problem with gangsta rap isn't that some of it is vile, it's that most of it is boring. Why? Because too many of these acts are Johnny One-Notes, incapable of any degree of depth or subtlety. Not the Geto Boys, though. Sure, there are some scary moments on "Uncut Dope," the group's new best-of collection; the murderous "Mind of a Lunatic," for instance, remains one of the most terrifying raps on record. But there are also slow, sensitive numbers like "My Mind Playin' Tricks On Me," and it's that ability to strike a balance between the two extremes that makes the Geto Boys major players in rap today.

LIVE AND LET DIE

Kool G. Rap & D. J. Polo (Cold Chillin' 5001)

When Kool G. Rap & D. J. Polo talk about being "#1 with a Bullet," they're not referring to their place on the pop charts. What these two are talking about is guns and violence, the top two components of "Live and Let Die." Definitely not an album for the faint of heart, Kool G.'s "killer" raps on "Train Robbery," "Ill Street Blues" and "Two to the Head" boast more blood-splattering than a Steven Seagal movie. Yet even when the wordplay verges on overkill, Rap's rapid-fire rhymes are always entertaining, especially when he lets loose with the quick-tongued torrent of words like "Go for Your Guns."

MUSIC TO DRIVEBY

Compton's Most Wanted (Orpheus/Epic 52984)

Given Compton, Calif.'s reputation for gang-oriented gunplay, hearing that Compton's Most Wanted have called their new album "Music to Driveby" will seem either wickedly funny or sickeningly stupid. But even if you take the title as a joke, it's hard to be much amused by the music itself -- though not necessarily for the reasons you'd think. As much as M. C. Eiht likes to strike the hard-guy poses expected of gangsta rappers, the act is never quite convincing; instead of coming across as a cold-hearted killer, he sounds like a mean-spirited misanthrope who has seen one too many shoot-'em-ups. And not even DJ Mike T's deeply funky rhythm beds can compensate for Eiht's predictable posturing.

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