El Cool Magnifico

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With all manner of party and sex jams exploding on rap radio during 2002, Coolio's return to the record bins, properly handled, could've brought him back into the mainstream. Well, it's clear he knew exactly what he needed to get back to the charts, but most of these tracks just aren't handled well enough to float next to contemporary rap. The few party tracks on tap suffer from an amateur sound that's just enough to keep them from getting any airplay; "I Like Girls" has a retro-electro feel that probably could've done it, and one of Coolio's best performances in a few years, but it's the only one here with any promise. "What Is an MC?," "Cadillac Vogues," and "Ghetto Square Dance" (the latter a "Fantastic Voyage" remake) smack of small ideas -- not to mention small studios. Coolio's still a pretty solid party rapper, but it's clear the rap world passed him by more than five years before the appearance of El Cool Magnifico.

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