POP MUSIC : In Brief

** 1/2 Me Phi Me, "One," BMG/RCA. Despite the occasional hackneyed lyrical conceit--life as a road or a dream--this is not the debut of just another hip-hop cheerleader exhorting you to be all you can be. Imaginative backing tracks feature a variety of melodic string action, from slashing rock to rippling flamenco, mixed right up front with the drum machine. The egalitarian funkmeister twists his tongue with requisite skill, rapping in the name of love. It may seem sappy, but who's got a better idea?

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four (excellent).

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