Doug E. Fresh

Play

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In an effort to bring the ol' school sound back in full effect, MC/human beatbox king Doug E. Fresh returned in the mid-'90s with a comeback album that called for a return to the traditions that originally made hip-hop great. Classic funk breakbeats, party-over-here vocals, catchy call-and-response choruses that get the crowd involved, and that inimitable Doug E. Fresh beatbox: it's all there on Play, one of the best party-friendly rap records since Run found religion. With the exception of a brief but glaring misstep on "Freak It Out!," a misogynistic rap featuring Luke, Play is a welcome flashback to the days when guns, drugs, sex and violence were not the genre's primary lyrical focus. For the most part, Doug E. and his new crew prove you can be positive and original, yet still have slammin' beats that will appeal to the modern hip-hop crowd.

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