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ALBUM REVIEW

*** 1/2

QUEEN LATIFAH

“Nature of a Sista’ ”

Tommy Boy

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There are lots of women in rap these days, but none cooler than this 21-year-old Jerseyite. Latifah earned a Grammy nomination for her 1990 debut album, “All Hail the Queen,” and this follow-up proves that last year’s success hardly ranks as beginner’s luck.

Latifah has plenty to say, particularly about women and how best to relate to the opposite sex: “Talkin’ to some of these men with nine wives,” she succinctly warns on one track, “could be dangerous unless you’ve got nine lives.” She’s also a better-than-average singer, evidenced by her sultry reworking of Curtis Mayfield’s ‘70s hit, “Give Me Your Love.”

Though basically down-to-earth, there is a sophistication to the way Latifah expresses herself. It’s also refreshing to note that Latifah presents herself as neither victim nor victimizer. The hardest diss she aims at anyone is on “Fly Girl,” when she brushes off an overconfident pursuer.

Any young woman in the ‘90s looking for suitable role models would be hard-pressed to find a better example than Latifah, a rapper who knows that commanding rather than de manding respect is the most regal route.

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Albums are rated on a scale of one asterisk (poor) to five (a classic).


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