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Handsome Boy Modeling School

White People (Elektra)

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On the 1999 album So ... How's Your Girl?, the faux-stylish studs in Handsome Boy Modeling School (aka superproducers Prince Paul and Dan "the Automator" Nakamura) emptied their imaginations and Rolodexes, creating an alternate musical universe with room for everyone from Mike D to Father Guido Sarducci. The follow-up, White People, is even more diverse -- RZA, meet the Mars Volta; Pharrell, this is Julee Cruise -- but, paradoxically, it sounds more coherent, dominated by several tracks (including "Greatest Mistake," an R&B duet between John Oates and jazz whiz kid Jamie Cullum) that are songs first, production showcases second. It's also no comedy record; aside from the skits by Don Novello's Father Guido and ex-SNL-er Tim Meadows, a wistful feeling runs through White People, beginning with the bleak, reggaefied single "The World's Gone Mad. "

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