November 18, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

EW reviews two new hip-hop albums

Usher and OutKast’s Big Boi are launching labels with smorgasbord-style comps. Usher’s disc,the In the Mix Soundtrack, doubles as the soundtrack to his new film and proves he’s not lost his musical touch: Cuts by rapper Rico Love and 112 soundalikes One Chance are radio-ready jams, but the CD suffers slightly for its lack of star quality. This also hampers Big Boi’s Big Boi Presents…Got Purp Vol. 2, though imaginative Dirty South productions like Janelle Monáe’s disco bash ”Lettin’ Go” and Sleepy Brown’s soulful ”Me, My Baby & My Cadillac,” make it a forgivable offense. Mix: B- Purp: B

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