Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Ahmad [Giant, 1994] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Ahmad [Giant, 1994]
Masterminded by Kendal Gordy, the scion turned hip-hop pop-pup said to have discovered this South Central youth after he was bussed to high school in Pacific Palisades, Ahmad proves yet again how meaningless a concept "commercial" is. If it weren't for the one about the lad who holds up a minimart so he won't get slammed by the neighborhood bad guys, you'd think Gordy still believes Kid 'n Play represent a viable sales strategy--still believes there are rap fans out there who want to look soft. Maybe he just believes they deserve "Freak," jammed with vocal parts that articulate, embroider, and tangle the beat--breakneck rap, dancehall impression, girls going "She did the freak," girls going "doo-doo-dada" further down, cries, murmurs, and cross-comments below that. Ahmad's long, excitable, word-stuffed phrases bespeak a kid who always colored outside the lines--they're about desire rather than control, so eager to get over you hate to think what will become of him if they don't. With too much integrity, naiveté, and offhand sass to disguise a self-starter's ambition as a thug's greed, he likes to call himself a "niggaroe." He turns 19 in October. A-

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