A rap/electronic hybrid that pairs Mos Def with Massive Attack, Mystikal with Moby, Busta Rhymes and Silkk the Shocker with the Dub Pistols, etc., Blade II is a collaboration in the weakest sense of the word, fusing a throwaway beat from one camp with a throwaway rap from the other.
Sometimes, our co-conspirators merely trip each other up. BT just derails the Roots' invaluable live instrumentation groove on "Tao of the Machine." Conversely, Trina and Rah Digga bleat all over Groove Armada's subtle percussion on "Gangsta Queens." Others plagiarize themselves: "PHDream" finds Bubba Sparxxx and the Crystal Method bumbling over the backing track to a tune on the Meth's last album. Redman and Gorillaz, meanwhile, turn in "Gorillaz on My Mind," a plodding, unlistenable remake of the latter's splendid "19-2000."
Want comic relief? Ice Cube. Paul Oakenfold just ducks under the kitchen table and tries not to get hurt on "Right Here, Right Now," as Mr. Cube proffers ludicrous boasts ranging from the accusatory ("You ain't nuttin' but a bi-yotch!") to the declarative ("Ass up/Face in the pillow/I don't give a fizzle/Got to do my bizzle").
You'll dig that track, actually, even as you ask yourself "Is this for real?" And, like the specter of another dopey Wesley Snipes action flick, you'll wish it weren't.