November 16, 1990 at 05:00 AM EST

Down to Earth

Current Status
In Season
Monie Love
Warner Bros.
Pop, Hip-Hop/Rap
We gave it an A-

Everyone’s out to get Monie Love. According to this devastating young rapper’s album, guys in high school hit on her, record producers try to exploit her, and other women have the hots for her boyfriend. But Monie’s no victim. Bristling with confidence, the charismatic British émigré drops her adversaries with ego-crushing insults.

Although Monie’s irritability occasionally curdles the mood, Down to Earth is rooted in positive values: self-respect, self-reliance, independence, and ambition. Her advice to an abused friend is solid; her put-down of promiscuity ends with a warning about AIDS. When she grills a date in ”R U Single,” which holds out the affection of a strong woman as a prize worth earning, her withering inquisition is tempered with praise.

In contrast, her harangue against eating pork may be based in the Muslim faith, but her disgust makes it funny, more like a defiant teen wrinkling her nose at supper. Facing the album’s diverse musical menu — hard hip-hop, sensuous ’70s soul, guitar rock — Monie handles it all, indelibly stamping each track with her spirited personality. A-

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