Picks and Pans Review: Chupacabra

updated 12/15/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/15/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST

Imani Coppola

Backed by some thumping, dance-beat percussion and blessed with talent that lets her perform engaging raps in a comforting, musical voice, this 19-year-old college sophomore joins the growing ranks of hip-hop artists who have helped lighten things up after years of gangsta wars. Coppola offers a wide-eyed—and worldly-wise—take on the problems of coming of age, a skill at finding and sampling tasty veins of classic rock (a guitar riff from Donovan's "Sunshine Superman" opens "Legend of a Cowgirl") and enough musical know-how to play keyboards, guitar, violin and other assorted string instruments. It is an irresistible package of talent, especially when combined with witty lyrics smartly delivered. On "Legend of a Cowgirl," she imagines "A female legend with a song...I'd give my sight to see her." No need, girl. You're already on the way. (Columbia)

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