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N.W.A Reunion Propels ‘Next Friday’ Soundtrack

The widely anticipated N.W.A reunion song that appears here forms a solid backbone for an eclectic, 15-cut collection (due in stores Tuesday) that features some stellar hip-hop tracks.

N.W.A--Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, MC Ren and Snoop Dogg (replacing the late Eazy-E)--get together for the first time in a decade on the confrontational “Chin Check.” Although it’s a welcome reintroduction to the notorious group, the song doesn’t live up to the standard of its best music. Much of the excitement comes from just hearing Cube, Dre and Ren rhyme together again, and their infamous attitude is intact. But the sound doesn’t match the rabid rage of their earlier work.

Elsewhere, the soundtrack to the sequel of Ice Cube’s 1995 comedy “Friday” mixes a combination of hard-core (Ja Rule and Vita’s “We Murders Baby”) and smooth (the Isley Brothers’ “Make Your Body Sing”) sounds and sensibilities. But other than the N.W.A track, it’s the party songs that make the strongest impression. Cube, Mack 10 and Ms. Toi combine for the dance-floor-ready “You Can Do It,” while Kurupt and others unite on the spicy “Mamacita.” Cuts from Wyclef Jean and Eminem add darker elements to the album, whose songs actually have something to do with the movie--an almost unheard-of feat for a quality hip-hop soundtrack.

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Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two (fair), three (good) and four (excellent). The albums are already released unless noted.

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Hear the Music

Excerpts from the “Next Friday” soundtrack and other releases are available on the World Wide Web. Point your browser to: https://www.latimes.com/soundclips

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