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Proving to be a rap powerhouse

David Banner

“Certified”

(SRC/Universal)

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RIDING high on the success of his sexually explicit single “Play,” on which he nearly whispers his raps, Mississippi’s most famous rapper returns with his third major-label album, a strong collection that showcases his wide-ranging lyrical agendas.

On a handful of cuts, including the ultra-raunchy “Play,” Banner comes off as a gangster pimp, someone so brazen and profane that it is somewhat surprising how soul stirring his other songs can be.

With a simple acoustic guitar backing Banner’s pain-filled lyrics, “My Life” explores the effects of betrayal, the slave trade and drug dealing, placing each in epic contexts that dig to the core of intrapersonal conflict. “Ridin’,” with Talib Kweli and dead prez, is a captivating meditation on the use of the N-word.

Banner rounds out his fiery collection with a batch of crunk cuts that tip their hat to the raucous work that helped catapult him to stardom a few years ago. Part sex fiend, part revolutionary and part party-starter, David Banner certifies himself a rap powerhouse with “Certified.”

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Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). Albums reviewed are in stores today.


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