Spice 1

AmeriKKKa's Nightmare

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Numerous gangsta rappers came out of the Oakland rap scene of the late 1980s and 1990s, many of whom were faceless and interchangeable. One of the city's more noteworthy gangsta rappers was Spice 1, whose third album AmeriKKKa's Nightmare appealed to hip-hoppers who had been savoring Dr. Dre's The Chronic in 1994. Spice doesn't bring any new insights to gangsta rap -- tunes like "Face of a Desperate Man," "Jealous Got Me Strapped" (featuring the late 2Pac Shakur), "You Done Fucked Up," and "Murder Ain't Crazy" don't say anything that Ice Cube, N.W.A, the Geto Boys, or Ice-T hadn't said already. But the CD manages to hold attention thanks to Spice's appealing flow (his rhyming skills are solid, to be sure) and the very Dre-ish tracks produced by Blackjack, DJ Slip of Compton's Most Wanted fame, Ant Banks, and Spice himself. Dre's influence is impossible to miss on this album; like him, the producers favor a sleek, highly melodic approach that combines hip-hop beats with a strong appreciation of George Clinton's P-Funk innovations. Though AmeriKKKa's Nightmare falls short of the excellence of The Chronic, this is an enjoyable, if derivative, release that fans of the Dre/Snoop Doggy Dogg/Warren G school of 1990s gangsta rap will treasure.

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