Although he sounds like a man with a serious nasal infection, Redman has a lyrical style that manages to come off with a fraud-free flow. He's capable of knocking lightweights off the mike at will. Each track is an exercise in nonstop rhyming, giving the CD an overall all-night-party feel.

Peep Red's verbal technique: Using sharp lyrical knives, Redman is well-placed to boast, "I strong as ammonia/Smelling from here to California/My music more unda-ground than a kid in a 300 SL convertible fuel injected/That's why my style's way respected/Verbally ya never heard of me/I smoke ya third degree/To cause surgery/For emergency."

All the tracks are head-bobbers, but there are standouts: As the nappy-headed Redman spouts lyrics in one breath, he swings from slow, hypnotic grooves on "Can't Wait" to hyperactive, panic-stricken tones on "Rockafella (R.I.P.)," then mellows the pace on "Basically." Dare Iz a Darkside is packed with 20 tracks. Only two aren't full cuts, so ya know you're getting your money's worth. A must-have for the hip-hop intellectual.--

Hoodoo Gurus

If you need a quickie handle for Sydney's Hoodoo Gurus, it's Midnight Oil with a kitsch streak instead of a political agenda. This band has released albums with such frivolous, hepcat titles as Blow Your Cool! and Mars Needs Guitars!, stuck in retro-groovy somewhere between the Stray Cats and Big Daddy Roth.

Crank does little to buck that trend, but at least Ed Stasium's arena-rock production provides the Gurus with the muscle to back up their stylistic intentions/pretensions. Hard to believe it's vocalist Dave Faulkner--the same wimpy guy who sang "Call Anytime" in 1985--threatening to "mess you up! Just get out of our way now!" on "The Right Time." Even guitarist Brad Shepherd gets into the act, screaming "Reach right in and fuck my soul!" on the ferocious "Form a Circle." Another high-octane highlight is "Less Than a Feeling," which takes a healthy swipe at radio while stealing its fade-out from Boston's "More Than a Feeling." Only two tracks here could be considered ballads, with the balance roaring along like a souped-up dragster. Crank it up!--

PRINCE CHARMIN... v1-19-95

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