Picks and Pans Review: Prose Combat

updated 05/23/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/23/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

MC Solaar

The brightest light in the hip-hop galaxy is Claude M'Barali, AKA MC Solaar. The rapper was born in Senegal and raised in France, where he is the biggest thing since Mickey Rourke, and where this second album, his first to be released in the United States, is already gold. Solaar's flow is jazzy, fluid, playful, witty, free of misogyny, race bailing and violent imagery. And, oh yes, it's also in French. But you don't have to parlay that language to dig the background mosaic of turntable grooves laid down by DJ Jimmy Jay or to appreciate Solaar's rich, sexy voice, which is so evocative, you feel what he's expressing even if you can't understand what he's saying. (Cohiba)

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