` Columbia Journal - Music
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Music
HIP HOP ALBUM REVIEWS

BY MAXIMUS CLEAN
www.maximusclean.com


Artist: Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes
Title: Supernova
Label: Arista Records

When Lisa Lopes passed away on April 26, 2002, she not only left behind her teammates in the multi-platinum selling trio, TLC, but millions of fans waiting to hear this, her debut solo album. Released internationally, but not in North America, Lopes' final album serves as a posthumous tribute to her versatility, not only as a songstress, but as an emcee and songwriter as well. Of the twelve selections on this album, only two, "Hot" and "The Block Party" have been released to radio in North America, leaving many to wonder why this album might never have seen the light of day in her own home country. The nine remaining selections showcase Lopes' lyrical finesse, calling upon vocalists such as Jazze Pha, Blaque, Carl Thomas and, surprisingly, Tupac Shakur. The track featuring 2Pac, titled "Untouchable", is a curiosity of sorts, having been recycled from an unreleased freestyle and engineered together as a duet, much like Nat King Cole/Natalie Cole's version of "Unforgettable". Sadly, this novelty now serves as an audio tribute to two fallen artists of the urban genre. For true fans of TLC or for those simply curious to hear what might have been, Left Eye's first and last solo album is a must-have.



Artist: Wyclef Jean
Title: Masquerade
Label: Columbia Records

In his third solo album since the Fugees disbandment, Wyclef shows us why he is this generation's answer to Prince and Stevie Wonder - he is a musical genius that never sleeps. Like the aforementioned innovators, Clef demonstrates his versatility in composition, execution, and innovation. On this album, he returns to his Haitian roots, exposing his legions to his unique fusion of hip hop, ska, reggae, and African rhythms. His performance on this project is enhanced by guest appearances from Sharissa, MOP, Claudette Ortiz and Tom Jones. Instant classics include "Two Wrongs" and a remake of "December, 1963 - Oh What A Night". The only detraction from an otherwise masterful album is the strange "Hot 93.1" skits littered throughout. "Masquerade" is by no means a continuation on the journey set out by the first two Wyclef albums, it's more like a detour into the Twilight Zone of Hip Hop. This album is not for head-bobbin', noddin', or thrashin', it's for the mental process that starts at the ears and works its way inwards.




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