The Nine Yards

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In the late '80s and early '90s, rap invaded the pop music world to the point where many rappers were considered mere pop artists. As a result, the genre produced an abundance of one-hit wonders who failed to reconnect with either rap or pop audiences after their moment of glory. Along with artists like Young MC, Candyman, Domino, and Positive K, Paperboy's rap ambitions were eclipsed by an impossibly catchy hit single. After streamlining the title of Zapp's oft-sampled R&B classic "Do Wa Ditty (Blow That Thing)" to the more radio-friendly "Ditty," Paperboy embellished Roger Troutman's surefire hook with a fluid, playful rap that drops names ranging from Jody Watley to BeBe and CeCe Winans. The song's crossover appeal is clinched once Paperboy segues effortlessly from the rapped verses to a chorus made irresistible by his sweet singing voice. That pop sensibility is precisely what discredited him in hardcore hip-hop circles, yet Paperboy was also unable to make lightning strike twice on the pop charts. The instructively titled "Bumpin' (Adaptation of Humpin')" attempted to ride the Gap Band to follow-up success, but by then the latest flavor had captured the public's attention, and Paperboy was yesterday's news. Predictably, nothing on The Nine Yards impresses like "Ditty" but, since the full-length CD often appears in cutout bins, it might be a better bargain than the single.

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