Tricky used to call himself "Tricky Kid," but it wasn't until after the success of Maxinquaye in 1995 -- a dark, languid debut that combined elements of hip-hop, dub, R&B, and rock -- that he truly began living up to the "Kid" portion of his former moniker. After the record's release, he refused to do interviews, threw temper tantrums onstage, canceled performances, and whined about his record deal. Follow-up albums Pre-Millennium Tension and Angels with Dirty Faces further showcased Tricky's narcissistic, paranoid tendencies. By the time 1999's Juxtapose came out -- a truncated stab at hip-hop and ragga -- most fans had given up on the cranky musician and producer. Now, Tricky is trying to Blowback into the mainstream with a new label and a new album he calls his "most accessible" to date. But although it kicks off with promise, the album quickly becomes disjointed. Hollywood Records had added a slew of guest stars in attempting make good on its investment. Sure, Alanis Morissette's backing vocals add a chilling ambience to opener "Excess" (the album's best track), and Live's Ed Kowalczyk swoons through the sweeping "Evolution Revolution Love," but most tracks simply fall flat. While "Girls" and "#1 DA Woman" would be perfect on a Red Hot Chili Peppers album (three of the four members appear), here they sound stale and pointless. Cyndi Lauper's presence on "Five Days" is simply unnecessary. And the incessant barking on many tracks of Jamaican ragga rapper Hawkman grows extremely tiresome, climaxing in the laughable cover of Nirvana's "Something in the Way." Tricky says he's poised for airplay on radio and MTV -- as if either has high standards these days. Keep on smoking that weed, Tricky.
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