Short Takes: Music: Vol. 3...Life And Times Of S. Carter Jay-Z

...And Then There Was X DMX

DMX presents himself as a hard-core rapper, but essentially he makes music designed to entertain suburban children. His rage-filled persona is too over-the-top to take seriously (he starts this album growling and barking) and his lyrics, ("Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Nigga!") lack wit. On Party Up, he tries to craft a clubland anthem and fails. It's not much fun partying with a guy who's probably just gonna start a fight and ruin everything. Still, one song, What's My Name?, does have a welcome sense of urgency.

Fellow gangsta rapper Jay-Z fares better on his new CD. Unlike DMX, he keeps his...

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