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  CMN Presents Party Mix 2
Artist: Various Artists
Label: CMN Records
Length: 10 tracks/45:36

CMN Records presents Party Mix 2 a sampler of artists on the label in a smorgasbord of rhythmic styles ranging from rap to hip-hop to Latin.  The tone of the CD is a decidedly evangelistic, yet sometimes foreboding presentation of the Gospel, especially the rap tracks.  Lyrics to all the songs are included on a colorful, if not busy, insert booklet.  The booklet also contains artist bios and an abbreviated catalog of CMN Records product.

Since each track is from a different artist, here is a quick breakdown of each one individually:

"Y2J" by Frankie Cutlass & The God Squad is a rapped testimony of his salvation with lyrics like "You sent Your holy angels to come and get me so you could hug and kiss me / I thank You for each and every bullet that missed me."

June April's "Tick Tock" has a jazzy R&B feel, with a little hip-hop flavor underneath.  Her voice would definitely fit jazzier fare.  She will be one to watch in the vocal jazz sub-genre, and she scores the best track on the entire CD.

"El Vive" offered by Brothers Inc. 4 'Da Lord has a peppy, yet repetitive mechanized Latin track accompanying the group's Spanish rap.  Thankfully it only lasts 3-1/2 minutes.

The artist known only as Sam introduces us to the "soca" sub-genre, which sounds like a cross between reggae and Latin in his song "Salvation" with its unabashedly evangelistic lyrics.  It is an infectious song that is easy to learn and sing along with.  

"The Return" by Pettidee, the sole track billed as reggae, is a far cry from Bob Marley, to say the least.  Maybe it would be better called reggae-core with its in-your-face rap-like style.

J. Davis offers a track called "East Wes," which listed as Drum & Bass, but could almost pass for smooth jazz.  It's good instrumental, and one of the better tracks in the collection.  There is a Scripture reference on the lyric page, Psalm 33:3, which says, "Sing unto him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise." 

"Looking Back" is a hip, laid-back jam by Bobby Soverall with a catchy hook and mellow R&B background.

The rap from hip-hoppers O.G., Diggy, and T.R.U.E.L.I.F.E.  called "Firestarters" gives an up front and personal performance to a slightly annoying background track.

DELaRAY's hip-hop track "Test The Spirits" is another foray into rap, yet unfortunately like the other rap tracks on the CD, fails to really connect with the listener.

Party Mix 2 closes with "No Turning Back" by Uncle Lou featuring LaTanya on vocals.  With some nice harmonies and its anthemic chorus, it is a fine ending to an otherwise mixed bag of songs ranging from fair to less than decent.

Overall there were no runaway hits that grab the listener and shake him by the lapels, but there were a few offerings that were either memorable or catchy interspersed with substandard efforts to fill the hip-hop genre with more East Coast rap.  Fans of these genres may find an artist or two they would like to further investigate, but thatís about the only purpose a collection like this serves.

Zik Jackson 1/4/2001

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