Television Soundtrack

Dexter's Laboratory: The Hip Hop Experiment

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Mixing hip-hop with Cartoon Network fave Dexter's Laboratory sounds like a potentially unstable combination, but Dexter's Laboratory: Homeboy Genius is surprisingly successful because of the talent involved with it. When Coolio's goofy, dub-inspired "Dexter (What's His Name)" is one of the album's weaker tracks, you know you're listening to something special. All of the artists on this seven-song effort rose to the challenge of mixing their individual styles with different aspects of Dexter's world, crafting music that's fun and catchy, but not at all patronizing to kids or older listeners. Phife Dawg's "Love According to Dexter" and De La Soul's adorable "Sibling Rivalries" concentrate on Dexter's sometimes turbulent relationship with his sister DeeDee, while YZ's "Mandark's Plan" has sympathy for Dexter's nemesis (as well as a cool sample of the young evil genius' cackle looping in the background). Not surprisingly, though, the best tracks on Dexter's Laboratory: Homeboy Genius focus on Dexter the inventor: Will.I.Am from Black Eyed Peas' "Secret Formula" describes Dexter's lab with such mischievous glee that he may as well be talking about his studio; while Prince Paul's "Back to the Lab" takes an unsuccessful experiment in stride. Fortunately, Dexter's Laboratory: Homeboy Genius is a complete success; its only drawback is that it's so short. Still, all kids' albums -- and hip-hop albums, for that matter -- should be this much fun to listen to.

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