Bubba Sparxxx

The Charm

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Southern rapper Bubba Sparxxx must have taken the non-response to his 2003 album, the introspective Deliverance, to heart. He's moved out of the Timbaland camp -- although the producer does make an appearance on the infectious "Hey!" -- and into Big Boi's Purple Ribbon crew for his third release, the well-rounded, just-short-of-excellent Charm. Club bangers like the catchy "Ms. New Booty" with Ying Yang Twins are plentiful and there's a great amount of flash and polish, all wrapped up in a tight package with one major exception. After a steady stream of driven numbers that justify this chart-hungrier style for Bubba, the too-sweet, too-sugary "Run Away" sounds American Idol clean as it begs to get a taste of the mainstream. Making up for this is the bouncy and bright "Wonderful," the tense "Otherside" with Petey Pablo, and the low-riding "Claremont Lounge," which brings to mind the great Deliverance with its deep Organized Noize-provided beat. Deliverance is still his great album, but it didn't work so well on the weekend. The Charm, on the other hand, does as it good-times Bubba back into the collective consciousness.

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