Volume 91, Issue 90

Thursday, March 19, 1998

Howe 'bout it



Money, Power & Respect
Bad Boy Entertainment, Inc.

After singing on tracks by such artists as Puff Daddy, Ma$e, The Notorious B.I.G. and Mary J. Blige, Bad Boy's first rap group, The LOX, have finally released their first album.

Money, Power & Respect was produced by Puff Daddy and released on his label, Bad Boy Entertainment, which means listeners can expect all of the usual things that seem to accompany any Puffy project. These include cameos by other hip-hop artists such as DMX, Carl Thomas, Lil' Kim and Puff Daddy himself; the remixing of old songs (Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" is turned into "If You Think I'm Jiggy"); and of course, the mandatory references to Biggie Smalls.

The LOX stands for Living Off 'Xperience. This trio feels they have gained enough experience to get the respect they deserve and now it's time for the money and power to follow. These themes are seen throughout the album, especially on the tracks "The Interview," the powerful "Money, Power & Respect" and "Get This $."

Overall, Money, Power & Respect is a fairly solid debut. The LOX, with Puff Daddy's help, should shortly obtain what they want the most – money, power and of course, respect.

–Shawn Despres

Los Umbrellos
Flamenco Funk

Why do one-hit wonders even bother releasing an entire album of material? Los Umbrellos is another act getting a free ride on one pop hook. After several months, they have created 40 minutes of musical hell, centred around their hit single "No Tengo Dinero."

Los Umbrellos combines hip-hop, reggae and Latin influences to produce their own bland version of pop music. At the centre of attention is Al Agami, who sings and raps his own lyrics. The problem lies in his phony Latin accent which is inconsistent throughout the album. No single member of the group is actually responsible for writing the music.

The biggest trend in R&B and hip-hop is heavy sampling from the '80s, thanks to Puffy Combs. Flamenco Funk features a brutal version of The Cars' classic "Drive." Agami has taken the liberty of creating new lyrics for the track, but these, and poor use of sampling kills the emotion that made the original song so powerful.

Flamenco Funk is fluff. There is no substance in the lyrics or the music. The production team has not even been able to produce a decent pop hook. Even if you like "No Tengo Dinero," do not waste your money buying this terrible album – or at least wait for it to appear on one of MuchMusic's cheesy compilations.

–Neil Malhotra

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998