June 29, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
We gave it a B+

His profile was amply boosted courtesy of Sting, with whom he vocalized on ”Desert Rose,” but Mami is world class in his own right, crowned in his native Algeria as royalty of the seductive Rai style. The mostly irresistible energy of this album’s Rai-pop-funk hybrid should help spread the gospel, and input from coproducer Nile Rodgers and even Chet Atkins doesn’t hurt. But Mami is the man: With his passionate, charismatic wail, he leads a friendly yet exotic, in-your-face, on-your-feet sound.

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