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Bow Wow and Omarion

Face Off (LBW/Sony/Columbia)



Even though it sounded preposterous when Bow Wow told XXL magazine in 2005 that he, Kanye, 50, and maybe Jay-Z were rap's biggest stars, it's hard to argue with the dude's winning streak. Face Off is Bow's sixth CD since 2000's debut, Beware of Dog, which was released when he was only 13 years old. He's come a long way since then — maybe too far, seeing that many of his new rhymes invite a sexual-harassment suit or two ("It's about to be mass hysteria/About to touch every girl's ass in America," he announces on the album's very first cut.) Nonetheless, it's all love between Bow and Omarion, the slightly less horny crooner who used to front R&B group B2K. Unfortunately, O comes off as a mere backup singer throughout most of Face Off. (He does offer the rapper some girl advice in "Listen," however.) This is Bow's first album without mentor-producer Jermaine Dupri, but most fans probably won't be able to tell the difference. "Hoodstar" and "Girlfriend" are surefire hits, ensuring Bow Wow and Omarion chart domination for at least a couple more years.

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