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ME PHI ME (Buy CDs by this artist)
One (RCA) 1992

Frat-rapper/poet Me Phi Me promotes individuality, political progress and a positive outlook in his low-key rhymes and whispery singing on One; producer Chris Cuben-Tatum (CeeCeeTee) spreads out a richly woven hip-pop-soul-blues carpet with live musicians (heavy on acoustic guitar, some of it played by MPM) and cushiony backing vocals. An ingratiating, uplifting trip with some of PM Dawn's spacey imagination, a bit of the sunny disposition that would later inspire Spearhead and something of the introspective new age mindset adopted by Des'ree, Me Phi Me is a charming self-helper who knows his way around the kitchen sink: "Row Row Row Your Boat," Sly Stone, Johnny Nash, Djivan Gasparyan and guest vocalist Michael Franks all find uses here. MPM's philosophical uplift becomes heavy ballast pulling down the entertainment factor after a while, but the music floats along on its variety and originality regardless.

[Ira Robbins]