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Da Bomb

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Used to be that we turned to youthful performers for a refreshing breeze of carefree innocence. Not anymore. After their triple-platinum debut, Totally Krossed Out, which spawned the mega-hit ”Jump,” Kris Kross’ Da Bomb seems hell-bent on establishing the duo’s authenticity in the hard-core rap world. (Lest you miss the point, they call the track-seven jam ”I’m Real.”) But while one of the two Chrises raps that ”my mind is a nine [millimeter] and my tongue is a trigger,” this 14- and 15-year-old team isn’t simply tagging along behind the likes of Ice Cube. Instead of being participants in the urban drama, they represent the kids who grew up literally under fire, the children who find it hard to sleep because of, as one cut has it, the ”Sound of My Hood.”

Neither Chris shines particularly brightly on the mic, although they’re both confident and steady. The real master here is producer Jermaine Dupri, who favors slower, deeper, more melodic grooves than he used on any of Kris Kross’ previous hits — which means that, far from being confined to suburban malls (à la ”Jump”), the album’s first single ”Alright,” could turn out to be the street’s big summer anthem. B+

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