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Handsome Boy Modeling School 

White People

Wednesday, Nov 24 2004
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Brazenly creative yet wildly erratic, Handsome Boy Modeling School producers Prince Paul and San Francisco resident Dan the Automator have made a career out of stepping onto the slipperiest of musical branches. White People, the follow-up to 1999's So...How's Your Girl?, finds the duo tiptoeing on a similarly treacherous limb. Exploring the nexus between indie rock and hip hop, the album features guest spots by everyone from moody torch singer Cat Power to Wu-Tang Clan MC/producer RZA to folk-pop surfer boy Jack Johnson. And while indie rock and underground hip hop may be philosophical cousins, the combination of the two is uneven at best. The frosty cool of Pharrell Williams and Julie Cruise's "Class System" is compelling, but the old-school/nu-rock meld "Rock and Roll (Could Never Hip Hop Like This) Part 2" -- featuring Linkin Park alongside Lord Finesse, the Roots' Rahzel, and Grand Wizard Theodore -- never gets off the ground. Though the results are hit-or-miss, you certainly have to admire these two producers' balls.

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Sam Chennault

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