Beenie Man Art and Life

Beenie Man is trying to keep it real on this follow-up to the excellent Many Moods Of Moses, but his management would appear to have other ideas. How else to explain the inclusion of the uninspired Mya on the derivative "Girls Dem Sugar," or the lead guy from the Cherry Poppin Daddies (who thought that was a good idea?). Otherwise, Beenie steers away from novelty sounds that bog down other performers such as Shaggy and Buju Banton - except for "Tumble," a creaky but not horrid Latin excursion with Arturo Sandoval on trumpet. The biggest problem with Art and Life is that it lacks the knockout punch of "Who Am I." A few songs attempt to modify the "Zim Zimma" hook that propelled that hit, none of which makes much of an impression. Elsewhere, the raw dancehall sounds that gave him his reputation are still pumping. Beenie Man remains a very good vocalist and lyricist, and he will probably make a better album than Art and Life. (Virgin)