Good Album.. Off The Hook...Good Purchase

I can't honestly say that the kid who's checking for some rough and rugged underground stuff is gonna be checkin' for this Salt-N-Pepa lp... However, that doesn't mean it's bad.. In fact it's rather good and it reflects the natural musical growth of these hip hop divas who've been at this for over 10 years... Remember these women are no longer some hard rock b-girls off the gritty streets of New York.. They are now some very classy women who are now mothers.. I'm quite certain their lifestyles have substantially changed and it's reflected in the music..Keep in mind that as we roll into the year 2000 hip hop has evolved and has become so diverse that it can no longer be for one particular audience... There's hip hop for the underground rhyme fiends.. Hip Hop for the street kids, There's hip hop for youngsters and there's hip hop for an older audience that may have been checkin' out the scene from day one..

Far too often hip hop artists get caught up in trying to compete with the musical jones.. They may claim to be themselves but oftentimes artists are trying to emulate someone else.. Hence a kid from the proverbial suburbs finds himself on the mic trying to be hard like the kid from the prverbial inner city.. It just doesn't quite work.. Not everyone is a Rakim.. or a Nas.. or Rass Kas.. They just can't spit rhymes so eloquently.. So why bother... Hip Hop should ultimately reflect you, your personality and musical upbringin' and influences.. And that's what I like and appreciate about this Salt-N-Pepa album...They've managed to put out something that really reflects who they are... In addition these women have also stepped up their game to become more involved in the music industry..both in front and behind the scenes.. For example, Both Salt and Pepa produced many of albums cuts. They've definitely been asserting their wisdom in terms of image and marketing strategies etc... All this comes across in their album...

Brand New has a pop feel and I believe it's the type of hip hop album that a 25+ female will really like... Salt-N-Pepa aren't about rappin' about all the latests fashions.. Nope they aren't giving free endorsements to all these designer labels... Nor are they about rappin' about gats and drugs and who they can take out and all sorts of 'hard core-lets-keep-it-real' type stuff..They are being real by being themselves.. And lets be honest it would really be a sad state of affairs if Salt-N-Pepa were still rappin' about the same stuff from 10 years back.. That would mean that after traveling all around the world and experiencing so many different cultures and perspectives that they absorbed none of it... That would be tragic.. A lot of their songs are laced with inspiring, positive yet not preachy messages.. It may be soft for some.. But it's a welcome change and a breath of fresh air for many.. who have grown weary of the same ole same ole...A couple of stand out tracks along this vein include.. 'Imagine' which features vocals from singer Sheryl Crow.. Also on point is 'Hold On' which really should've been the follow up to gospel singer Kirk Franklin's 'Stomp'.. In addition to Kirk this song also uses the gospel group Sound Of Blackness.. It's very uplifting...

So lets get down to basics.. Can these women still rock the mic? Most definitely... They ain't flippin' script like Foxy Brown or Bahamadia.. But they most definitely are holding their own..They have mastered the art of call and response...They sound relaxed and natural.. and more importantly have something to say... Also on this lp Spinderella is also flexin' her skillz.. She ain't bad...Bottom line.. you ain't takin' out without having some major skillz.. An added plus to SNP is their use of hooks... They have a couple of singers, Alicia Rushin, Dawne Shivers and Day Ta Day who executed much of these impressionable background vocals.. The beats are pretty cool...Like most hip hop albums they've gone back and resued some tried and true riffs.. Songs like 'Gitty Up' which borrows from Rick James' Give It To Me bay' and 'Boy Toy' in which they resing the hook made famous by Candyman's 'Knockin' The Boots' but was originally found in Rolls Royce's classic jam 'Oooh Boy'.The samplin' is not so obvious.. It sounds like many of the tracks incorporated live instruments.. which is probably what gives the lp a more 'pop' like feel...

I think most folks will like Brand New.. You may wanna check for tracks like the head boppin' 'Good Life', or the swingin' track 'Friends' which features Queen Latifah and raggamuffin artist Mad Lion... Another hittin' song is the slow rolling yet sultry song 'Silly Of You' My favorite track on the album is 'Brand New' which I think will capture some of headz out there and make their head bop.. It's a song that I think they should release as their next single...

Again I ain't mad about this Salt-N-Pepa lp... I wouldn't expect anything less from them.. So if you were a Salt-N-Pepa fan you will remain one.. and for those who are just being introduced to them... You'll come away appreciating just how much hip hop has grown.. Props to them...And continued success..

Reviewed By Davey D

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