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CD REVIEW

Knoc-Turn'al: The Way I Am

On his long-awaited debut, West Coast regular Knoc-Turn'al says that Dr. Dre dropped "two `Chronics' " and his is going to be the third. Whoa, don't get ahead of yourself, player. While there are inspired moments on this disc, Knoc doesn't deliver the classic he thought he was serving up. No doubt, Dre's "The Chronic" is the blueprint here as the emphasis is on blunted-out dramas, salacious scenarios, and party-hunting. Most of the tracks have familiar West Coast flavor with rolling bass lines, sinuous keyboards, and burping beats. Knoc's got a smooth flow and he works well with Snoop Dogg on the Scott Storch-produced title track, which has a nice weave of keyboards and strings for dramatic effect. "Love LA" is a taut ode to the rapper's hometown and "Peepin' Tom" neatly quotes numerous West Coast MCs who have served as mentors for Knoc. "What We Do," featuring Xzibit, Warren G, and Nate Dogg, is a throwback to '90s LA stroll with Dogg's luxurious singing carrying the day. One out-of-the-blue delight is the Timbaland-produced "Have Fun," which features Tim's usual stuttering, chattering beats. It sounds as if it's from another record altogether, but captures the go-for-it vibe the title implies. Dr. Dre shows up but mails in a bounce track, "I Like," and some of Knoc's versifying becomes redundant.

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