Picks and Pans Review: And in This Corner...

updated 12/04/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/04/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

These genial Philadelphia rappers have made a career out of expressing universal sentiments. On their Grammy-winning first record, it was "Parents Just Don't Understand." This time it's "I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson." The funny fantasy ends up with the Fresh Prince losing embarrassingly to Iron Mike in the first round. The album, And in This Corner..., on the other hand, goes the distance. It's a fresh, frolicsome, inventive collection. Try on "The Reverend," a compelling call to the dance floor which reworks an old Sly and the Family Stone groove.

The Fresh Prince is still a silver-tongued devil, as he is in the shifting scenario of "Then She Bit Me": "There she is doing aerobics/ No that's yoga, no karate.../ But what a body." His most impressive outing comes with the marvelously syncopated rhymes of "Numero Uno." D.J. Jazzy Jeff shows off his mixing skills on "Jazzy's Groove" and "You Got It (Donut)."

Jeff and the Prince may not be heavyweights, but in a lighter-weight class, say welter-rap, they're clearly champs. (Jive/RCA)

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