5 Things You Need to Know About

New Nas, lustful puppets and a letter from captivity

MUSIC Nas Untitled; out now This album's eagerness to please all constituencies--from the streets (N.I.*.*.E.R.) to the pop programmers (Hero)--ends up leaving everyone feeling a little played. But the piano-tinkling free-association opener is a crisp reminder of how good Nas can be when he's talking straight. C+

Sam Sparro Sam Sparro; out now Early Prince is the reference point on this Aussie's gospel electro-funk debut--at least on Black & Gold and 21st Century Life, naughty, hook-filled dance cuts with just enough wit to keep your brain engaged. But when the wit vanishes (as it does on Cottonmouth, the dumbest song ever...

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