Craig Mack

Project: Funk Da World

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    8
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The first hit album released on Sean "Puffy" Combs' Bad Boy label, Craig Mack's Project: Funk da World lacks the hardcore edge of Bad Boy's next breakout artist, the Notorious B.I.G., instead gunning for the dancefloor with a slight hint of street attitude. The beats are laid-back, mid-tempo, and effortlessly funky, influenced by the vibe of Dr. Dre's G-funk sound but not slavishly derivative at all. Mack isn't the most skillful rapper who ever lived, but he's game on most of these tracks, with a low, raspy voice and a loose, casual style that's hard to resist when he's on. When he isn't, he strays a little too far off the beat, or lacks enough variety in his flow and surprises in his rhymes to hold the listener's interest. But he's good enough to work a groove, and sometimes that's all you need for a great dance record. The formula gets repetitive over the course of an entire album, especially on the tracks with too many choruses, but there are some definite high points, most notably the smash "Flava in Ya Ear," "Get Down," and "Funk Wit da Style." There's also a clever sample of the Days of Our Lives theme song on "Real Raw." In the end, Project: Funk da World isn't a bad party record at all, though it's less engaging as a self-contained listen.

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