Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Harlem World [Bad Boy, 1997] A-
  • Double Up [Bad Boy, 1999] Dud

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Harlem World [Bad Boy, 1997]
This hugely appealing, moderately disturbing piece of pop has no more credibility with the keepers of hip hop's gated community than Calvin Butts, Al Roker, or the great neglected legacy of the Fat Boys. Mase's phlegmatic, just-woke-up drawl earns the overused term "flow" more than any delivery since Snoop's--unflappably indolent, fonder of vowels than consonants, he has no trouble rhyming "my limo" and "sex symbol" and is at ease with both tropes. His congested timbre warm rather than cool, he sounds goofy and utterly confident at the same time, the cuddliest rapper ever. But for his audience, cuddly and raunchy are anything but mutually exclusive, and like most ass men only more so, Mase isn't always so cute. He has his "four pimp rules," his "please no hickeys 'cause wifey's with me," his detailed list of freak-me requirements that climaxes with the sudden "If she make my nuts itch I kill that slut bitch." Black Barney, if you're talking this shit just to impress your boys, forget it, because it won't. You know the score: "Niggaz say they love me, they dont love me/I know deep down they wanna slug me/I feel the vibe when they hug me." A-

Double Up [Bad Boy, 1999] Dud

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