Picks and Pans Review: Back in Black

updated 05/26/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/26/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT


There is greater variety to rap music than the casual listener might think. On its third LP, Whodini, the popular rap trio from Brooklyn, works comfortably in the middle ground between the socially conscious funk of Run-DMC and the bubble gum jollity of the Fat Boys. Whodini is made up of declamatory rappers Ecstasy and Jalil and their deejay, Grandmaster Dee, who is responsible for the heavy bottom that is the foundation for all rap music. The couplets of Jalil and Ecstasy deal with rap's familiar preoccupations: extolling their own superiority as rappers and lovers and box-top philosophizing. For instance: "Sometimes you got to be down and out/ Before you can understand what it's all about/ I guess really to understand the story/ You got to feel the pain as well as the glory." More than most groups, the locutions and voices of Whodini are silky and attractive. Grandmaster Dee's contributions are apparent on the street carnival atmosphere of Funky Beat and the scratch-'n'-pound background to I'm a Ho. Whodini makes more than standard use of rudimentary melodies to supplement their rapping. Such delightful songs as Fugitive and What are evidence of what a snappy idea it is to add some musicality to rap. (Jive/ Arista)

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