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Grandmaster Flash

(Strut)

While most of rap's early stars have faded from the spotlight, Grandmaster Flash is still doing his thing. Of course, it's easy to be skeptical — at this point, no one's going to argue his skills, but is he still able to make relevant music? With The Bridge, the legendary DJ answers that question with a resounding "yes." Most of the discs he's dropped in recent years have flown under the radar, but this time around he appeals to both old and new fans with a star-studded roster of guests. On "Here Comes My DJ," he teams up with DJ Kool for a house-rockin' jam that's sure to get any party started; the track recalls the energetic vibe of Kool's classic, "Let Me Clear My Throat." Flash helps the spastic Busta Rhymes find his groove on "Bounce Back" — the MC hasn't sounded this good in years. "Those Chix" breaks up the dudefest with some feisty female rhymes from Princess Superstar, Byata and Hedonis Da Amazon — the girls can definitely rock the mic. But the album's best cut is "What If," a serious tune where KRS-One ponders what life would be like without hip-hop. Thanks to the still-innovative Grandmaster Flash, we'll never have to know. — Eddie Fleisher

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