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Pleasure & Pain

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What's more surprising? That Pleasure and Pain, One Twelve's fifth album, is not a greatest-hits compilation named after a song off their 1996 debut, or that it comes with a parental advisory label? In nearly a decade of existence, the group has amassed enough charting singles to warrant a concise best-of, and not many artists coming up with them during the mid-'90s are still active. In the wake of parting with P. Diddy and Bad Boy, they've taken the opportunity to work with a mostly new pool of collaborators, including Mario Winans, Jermaine Dupri, and Bryan-Michael Cox, who each pitch in once or twice. They remain self-sufficient otherwise, with member Daron Jones handling a good portion of the production duties. The result isn't much different from the previous albums, with a few standout singles and album tracks surrounded by a generous amount of forgettable moments, and a similar ratio of upbeat numbers and ballads to match. The parental advisory label (a first for the once squeaky-clean group) can actually be pinned on previously unlikely collaborators Three 6 Mafia. (Who could've ever predicted that a line as forthright as "Is she gonna chew me up or she gon' swallow up my nads" would ever appear in one of their songs? Nobody.)

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