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NEWCLEUS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Jam on Revenge (Sunnyview) 1984
Space Is the Place (Sunnyview) 1985

A couple of songs from Jam on Revenge were successful, so it would be unfair to call the youthful Newcleus a one-hit wonder. But the only track that's worth talking about is "Jam on It," a hip-hop celebration of the joys of juvenilia. Innocent but not gooey, the song takes rap off the street and cleans it up for mass consumption without emasculating it. The clincher is a lightweight synthesized bass lick that's the bounciest bottom (excuse me) since Chic's "Good Times." Over this, treated voices tweet nonsense syllables and the kids just have a good time. Unfortunately, the band never regained the magic of this rap classic, so the 12-inch of "Jam on It" remains the definitive Newcleus purchase.

[John Leland]