Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Handsome Boy Modeling School: So . . . How's Your Girl? [Tommy Boy, 1999]
This Prince Paul p-jay is more trip- than hip hop. Its irresistibility is atmospheric--a sound that pits industrial textures against quiet piano samples/parts--and its lo-res limitations are established by the fact that its standout track was produced by DJ Shadow. But guest rappers (and singers) greatly augment its musicality, and the bits that aren't simply drop-deadpan funny have the same wiggy couch-potato resourcefulness I associate with the best De La Soul--the sense that these guys know how the deck is stacked and intend to beat the game without leaving their seats. A blow for realism. A blow for positivity. A blow for getting yours without taking it from your brothers. A