CD reviews for Little Brother, "Getback," and Ween, "La Cucaracha"

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Little Brother

— "Getback"

On its first release since losing production powerhouse 9th Wonder, Durham, N.C. hip hop duo Little Brother is doing pretty well for itself.

9th - who might be more recognizable for the names he's written beats for, including Jay-Z and Macy Gray, than for his own - was the face of the group, but remaining MCs Phonte and Big Pooh have capitalized on their strengths to make a worthwhile comeback called "Getback."

With production and guest spots from Lil' Wayne and 9th, Little Brother isn't exactly going it alone. And, as always, the rhymes are clever, sometimes hilarious. The production is solid, if not standout.

As on its previous releases, Little Brother has found a place in hip hop that isn't grandstanding and isn't empty crunk. That balance is the duo's biggest strength, and it's one that ensures good things to come.

Rating: ''''

Ween

"La Cucaracha"

Following in the tradition of its first eight records, Ween's "La Cucaracha" doesn't make any sense.

Luckily for Dean and Gene Ween, that's their gimmick. And even more luckily, they're good at it, taking sideways stabs at every genre they can fit into 13 tracks - 1960s rock on "Sweetheart," eerie hippie music with "Spirit Walker." Only one cut, the dub-mocking "The Fruit Man," fails, making its four minutes feel like an hour.

Rating: '''

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