Definition of Sound

Love and Life: A Journey with the Chameleons

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Along with the Dream Warriors, Definition of Sound released albums that tried to capitalize on the native tongue sound pioneered a year or two before by De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest. The typically longwinded album title, sounding like undergrad essay titles; flowery quasi-mysticism; a taste for sampling that rifled through white beat groups of the '60s looking for hooks: all these factors make Definition of Sound followers, not trend-setters. However, it's not a bad album, and has less filler than Dream Warriors' debut. The standout track, and the album's single, "Now Is Tomorrow" mixes rapped verses with soul diva choruses from Elaine Vassel -- it's a joyous explosion of noise that unfortunately demands the rest of the album match it in energy and verve. Only a few are up to the challenge: "Dream Girl," which sounds like a caffeinated P.M. Dawn with a great deal of "Strawberry Fields Forever" blended in -- if rap was going to get psychedelic, this would have been the way through; and "City Lights," based around "Smiling Faces Sometimes" by the Undisputed Truth. Maybe the weakest part of the album are the lead rappers Kevwon and the Don, one of which sounds like Q-Tip. In the face of some brilliant production work by the Red King and Donwon (possibly the two rappers?)), they have little really to say, or little personality to stand out. Worth looking for in the discount bin.

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