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Our critics' picks in new releases


I remember the day well. I copped all the mysterious copies of The Best Part and labeled them "hot commodity." The Best Part was the first album released by J--Live. The "live" emcee was on every hip-hop head's tongue after "Braggin' Writes" was released in '99--except for his label's, from whom not a word was heard. (J could have been and should be a household-name rapper.) But after almost four years, he's back with his sophomore album, All of the Above, which discusses, well, all of the above and more. So let's go!

"One for the Griot" features a beat by Usef Dinero. How crazy is this song? Crazy. J tells the story of player's night and then flips it two times over a chilly beat. "Nights Like This" (also with a beat by Usef), features J and singer Rokafella riding a spacey beat into the sunset in a hypnotic style. "Do That $#!%," produced by DJ Spinna and DJ Chaos featuring El da Sensai on the hook, is supa' funky with sharp-humble stingers like, "The only ice I need is in my LIT" (that's a Long Island Tea to you non-drinkers).

In the sleeve notes, J says the following about the song "MCEE": "Ain't much to it. I'm just flexin'. I like to play with words and carrying styles. So the second verse is mostly words starting with M and C." J produced that track as well, so you could also call All of the Above "Braggin' Writes." And this album is rated PG for all ages (no parental advisory needed). P phor Phunky and a G for Gr8 from K8! www.sevenheads.com.

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