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GROOVE B CHILL (Buy CDs by this artist)
Starting From Zero (A&M) 1990

Moving into the daisy age, other rap crews have begun taking cues from De La Soul and the Jungle Brothers, rejecting pimp/gangster B-boy roles for ingratiating, soul-based middle-class positivity. This intelligent suburban New York trio's debut (two tracks, including the delightful "Top of the Hill," were produced by the genre's acknowledged master, Prince Paul) has some witty samples, a few entertaining bouts of casual group-singing and two good numbers: "Hip Hop Music" (a clear discussion of rap's significance) and "Reminiscin'" (a charming musical memory with non-sampled quotes from Otis Redding, Al Green, the Association). Though clearly promising, Starting from Zero hasn't got quite enough personality for serious fun.

[Ira Robbins]