Saturday, March 8, 2003
M U S I C   Z O N E

Ja Rule — The Last Temptation
(Universal) ***

A native of Queens, 24-year-old Ja began his career featuring on Mic Geronimo’s Time To Build in 1995. Ja’s career experienced an ultimate high in 1998 when he collaborated on some Roc-A-Fella / Def Jam releases: Murdergram on Jay Z’s Street Is Watching soundtrack, Jay’s Can I Get and DJ Clue’s The Professional. Irv Gotti later used Ja as the catalyst for Murder Inc’s launch in 1999. Ja’s debut album Vetti, Vennu, Vecci, released in 1999, became a multi-platinum success and established Ja Rule as a serious competitor to DMX and Jay-Z. Ja’s second album Rule 3:36 went straight to the US album chart in October 2000. His third album Pain Is Love became a triple-platinum seller and Ja became the leader of hip-hop rap. With an intention to come back to the streets, Ja Rule has released his fourth album, entitled The Last Temptation. Where earlier all talk was about mayhem and murder, The Last Temptation is tinged with some real menace and frustration. Bobby Brown (of My Prerogative fame) makes a comeback as a guest artist in the infectious Thug Lovin’. Ja expresses that after a relationship is over and you attempt to move on, old memories continue to haunt you. In Rock Star, Ja borrows snippets from Lenny Kravitz’s I Belong To You, making it a classic. The album’s title track isn’t shy about using Gwen McCrae’s Funky Sensation to lift up the tempo. Murder Me is set to the mellow sample of Anniversary by Tony! Toni! Tone!. Ja Rule’s flow is flawless, his voice is impeccable and his lyrics mean serious business. So if you don’t have it, you better go and get it!


Karsh Kale — Realise
(Times Music) ***

Apart from working with some of the world’s music giants, including Zakir Husain, Sting, Craig David, Herbie Hancock, Baaba Maal, Ustad Sultan Khan and Bill Laswell, Karsh is today counted amongst the most prolific performers. His ability to handle varied musical styles with elements from Western Rock, South Asian music, Electronica, R&B and fusing them together with a blend of Tablatronix is very impressive. With Realise, Karsh takes you on an addictive musical journey. The collection is a rich, musical melting point of social and global influences. Keyboards, strings, tabla and multi-layered rhythm provides the foundation on which Karsh builds a complex synthesis of multi-dimensional ideas, drawing from varied vocal, instrumental and dance traditions, primarily influenced by the Indian soul music. From the earthy Indian vocals and rhythm on Saajana to the haunting drum and bass backdrop of Deepest Blue, this album is a mixture of tradition and mood. The fusion of Indian classical music with a wide range of western electronic beats quite sound like Talvin Singh’s music, but let’s not forget that Talvin was the trendsetter. Certainly the most outstanding tracks are Tour Guide, One Step Beyond and Light Up The Love. To summarise, Realise is conceptually one of the best East-meets-West underground album, which reveals a new multi-cultural layer of sounds and images. Reason enough why Karsh’s a sell-out in America’s top venues.

Album of the month
Massive Attack — 100th Window

Massive Attack shook the entire music scene in 1991 with their brilliant debut album Blue Lines. And by 1988, when the trio released Mezzanine, everybody had come to recognise Massive Attack as one of the finest bands in the world. Massive Attack’s latest album, 100th Window, marks the permanent departure of Mushroom and temporary absence of Daddy G. The blend of contemporary soul, hip-hop grooves with underground rhythm presented in Blue Lines over a decade ago still sounds fresh and wondrous today. The metallic buzz of steel strings is gone but the paranoia is right in place. Whereas Sara Nelson was used in Blue Lines, Tracey Thorn in Protection and Elizabeth Fraser in Mezzanine, the mantle is passed on here to Sinead O’ Connor. This is essentially a solo album by Robert Del Naja (a.k.a. 3D), who has single-handedly put all the bits and pieces together. The drum/bass relationships are all expertly executed and the tracks are mixed beautifully, Butterfly Caught in particular. Instead of trance melodies, the album relies on sterile beats and synthesised sounds. The production by Del Naja and Neil Davidge is exceptional. Sinead O’ Connor’s makes a guest appearance in three tracks, What Your Soul Sings, A Prayer For England and Special Cases. In Anistar, an anti-climactic piano interlude abruptly halts a free-flowing guitar; the guitar returns only to be halted by another set of free flowing violins. Amazing.

— Saurabh & Gaurav


The Grrr…eat Music Zone Quiz

1. How many Grammys has Norah Jones won?

2. From which movie was the title for the song Walk This Way by Aerosmith derived from?

3. What is Nate Dogg’s real name?

4. What was Jennifer Paige’s number-one hit single in 1999 called?

5. Who did Christina Anguilera compete against in Star Search when she was eight?

6. In 1996, Linda Perry did a great appearance at Carnegie Hall, New York, with a very well known rock band. Which one was it?

7. Name the longest Phish song performed live.

8. Which band did David Lovering join after the Pixies?

9. Who are the founders of Ruff Ryders?

10. In 1989, Scarface performed in which album with Half Pint?


1. Eight

2. Young Frankenstein

3. Nathan Dwayne Hale

4. Crush

5. Christopher Eason

6. The Who

7. Runaway Jim

8. Cracker

9. Dee, Waah and Chivon

10. Two Rhythms Clash


Top 10 singles

1. All I Have Jennifer Lopez feat. LL Cool J (NM)

2. Cry Me A River Justin Timberlake (CU)

3. Mermerize Ja Rule feat. Ashanti (NM)

4. I’m With You Avril Lavigne (FD)

5. In Da Club 50 Cent (NE)

6. Ignition R. Kelly (CU)

7. She Hates Me Puddle Of Mudd (FD)

8. Landslide Dixie Chicks (NM)

9. Picture Kid Rock feat. Sheryl Crow (NE)

10. Clocks Coldplay (CU)

(CU) climbing up (FD) falling down (NM) non-mover (NE) new entry

This feature was published on March 1, 2003