April 25, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

At its most nihilistic, gangsta rap is surprisingly bloodless: carnage-filled but without emotional pulse. Here, Scarface brings pathos to single moms, shoot-outs, and crack dealers alike; with the haunting ”Make Your Peace,” he turns an existential Glock on himself, imagining his suicide and afterlife. Thankfully, this isn’t 7th Heaven N the Hood: Scarface’s brooding G-funk and anguished drawl prohibit cheesy sentimentality.

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