Local Wire

Handsome Boy Modeling School

On their 1999 debut, So . . . How's Your Girl?, the faux-stylish studs in Handsome Boy Modeling School (a.k.a. super-producers Prince Paul and Dan "The Automator" Nakamura) emptied their imaginations and Rolodexes, creating an alternate musical universe with room for everyone from Mike D to Father Guido Sarducci. Yet while the follow-up, White People, is even more diverse -- RZA, meet the Mars Volta; Pharrell, this is Julee Cruise -- paradoxically, it sounds more coherent, dominated by several tracks (including "Greatest Mistake," an R&B duet between John Oates and jazz whiz kid Jamie Cullum) that are songs first, production showcases second.

It's also no comedy record; aside from the skits by Father Guido and ex-SNL-er Tim Meadows, a wistful feeling runs through White People, beginning with the bleak, reggaefied single "The World's Gone Mad."

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Dan Leroy