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by Carey Murphy and Leah Sottile & r & & r & The Notorius B.I.G. & lt;a href= & quot;http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=rQy1MLe70wI & amp;offerid=78941 & amp;type=3 & amp;subid=0 & amp;tmpid=1826 & amp;RD_PARM1=http%3A%2F%2Fphobos.apple.com%2FWebObjects%2FMZStore.woa%2Fwa%2FviewAlbum%3Fp%3D106165493%26s%3D143441%26partnerId%3D30 & quot; & Duets: The Final Chapter & lt;/a & ** & r & Biggie gets remixed and repackaged in this collection of the late rapper's hits from a career cut far too short. And while the songs themselves will be more than familiar to fans from back in the day, these incarnations won't do much to bring new legions into the fold. Here, at least, all the hip-hop artists that name-drop Biggie as an influence actually get a chance to work with him. In a limited sense, of course. But if this is the final chapter, it is unfortunate it couldn't be more.


While Eminem, Jay-Z and Diddy are among the expected contributors, it's hard to imagine just how compatible Bob Marley and Biggie can be on "Hold Ya Head." And though Biggie's widow, Faith Evans, performs solidly throughout, the soulful Mary J. Blige earns monster props for reanimating Biggie and 2Pac on "Living in Pain."


We all own Biggie's unadulterated work for good reason. While entertaining, I'm not sure Duets elevates the grandeur that already exists. -- Carey Murphy





The Dandy Warhols & lt;a href= & quot;http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=rQy1MLe70wI & amp;offerid=78941 & amp;type=3 & amp;subid=0 & amp;tmpid=1826 & amp;RD_PARM1=http%3A%2F%2Fphobos.apple.com%2FWebObjects%2FMZStore.woa%2Fwa%2FviewAlbum%3Fp%3D79710483%26s%3D143441%26partnerId%3D30 & quot; & Odditorium or Warlords of Mars & lt;/a & * & r & If sitting through the rockumentary Dig! didn't make you want to stick forks in the eyeballs of Courtney Taylor-Taylor and the rest of the Dandy Warhols, then listening to five minutes -- no, two minutes -- of Odditorium or Warlords of Mars will make you sprint toward the silverware drawer.


Here is a band that used to be good; hell, they were great. From their early days of skeezy Brit-pop songs to their late-'90s love affair with distortion, the Dandys were tastefully contagious. Sometime around then, they got smacked by the ego stick, and things started to sour.


But with Odditorium, the Dandys have switched on the shit fan to high.


Once you get past the album's completely unfunny spoken-word opener, you get subjected to the first song, which consists of nine minutes of Taylor's aimless noodling, oohing and ahhing.


And the rest isn't any better. Too-long tracks wander aimlessly and Taylor's lyrical self-stroking reaches a new low with the Warhols' token hit, "Smoke It." Buying -- even stealing -- this album would be a mistake. Leah Sottile
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