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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Various Artists
Baby Loves Hip-Hop Presents The Dino 5
Baby Loves Everything

Rating: 8.5/10 ?


April 25, 2008
Historically, kids albums have generally sucked - blame Raffi and The Wiggles, who despite their insipidness have legions of devoted fans. There have always been exceptions, of course, such as Pete Seeger's output in the 1960s and '70s, and the more recent work of Ida's Elizabeth Mitchell, who has released several excellent children's albums. For 2008, we can add The Dino 5 to that list. A super-group consisting of some of hip-hop's most original and innovative talents, The Dino 5 have put together a record that is cute, not the least bit patronizing, fun for both adults and children, and actually pretty dope.

The cast of characters is as follows: Chali 2na (Jurassic 5) as MC T-Rex, Ladybug Mecca (Digable Planets) as Tracy Triceratops, Scratch (The Roots) as TEO Pterodactyl, Wordsworth (eMC) as Billy Brontosaurus, Prince Paul as DJ Stegosaurus, and Ursula Rucker as the narrator. Entirely produced by Paul, the beats here are crisp and banging, with just the right amount of cushioned corners for little kids to dance to and enjoy. All the MCs involved play their parts with a sense of humor, but take the project itself seriously, softening their edges but not becoming sappy caricatures of who they really are. Each song is preceded by a skit in which Ursula Rucker reads a little girl a story, which revolves around a group of dinosaurs at school who form a band and must deal with the various trials and tribulations on and off the schoolyard that all kids face. Lessons are learned - don't judge a book by its cover - and everyone seems to have a good time doing it. The album is reminiscent of De La Soul's debut, Three Feet High and Rising, with its skit-song format and Prince Paul's unique production, which encompasses various styles of hip-hop as it plays out.

According to the album's press release, Chris Rock recently optioned the story, so who knows what's next for The Dino 5. The Baby Loves Music series, of which this is the second entry, puts crap like the Baby Einstein brand to shame. 2008 will see the release of Baby Loves Disco and Baby Loves Salsa, but hip-hop seems to be the format best suited to the series, with its ability to engage various characters over beats that will get kids bouncing.

Reviewed by Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other reviews by Jonah Flicker

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