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January 29, 1998 - Image 22

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-01-29

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6B -- The ichigan Daily Weekend agazine - Thursday, January 29, 1998

w

DIA
Continued from Page 2B
Numerous other works by lesser-
known artists illustrate the vastly dif-
fering artistic styles of the 20th
Century.
If asked about museumgoers'
favorite Dl A painting, any museum
gift shop worker would tel! you that it
is William Adolphe Bouguereau's
1882 work, "The Nutgatherers," which
hangs in the European Paintings gal-
leries. This painting, which shows two
young peasant girls sitting in a mead-
ow, exemplifies the French Academic

des Beaux-Arts style. It is the most-
visited painting in the museum and
shoppers buy more postcards of it than
of any other work on display at the
DIA.
But despite the nearly universal
appeal of Bouguereau's painting, muse-
um visitors should not neglect brilliant
pieces in this and neighboring galleries
by Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas,
Georges Seurat and Vincent Van Gogh.
Other galleries have equally fasci-
nating displays. In the Asian archives,
museum visitors will find themselves
in rooms full of nothing but oversized
statues. The American Galleries

include a replica of an entire 19th-
Century house, complete with contem-
porary furniture and paintings.
In addition to the standard DIA fare,
the museum frequently hosts special
exhibits, such as the recent, critically
acclaimed "Splendors of Ancient
Egypt." The show left Detroit after
attracting an astounding record num-
ber of museum patrons.
Several special exhibitions are on
display until Feb. 28. "Changing
Spaces," a compilation of twelve
installation art projects, is the result of
a collaboration between artists work-
ing in non-textile media.

"Contemporary Masterpieces:
Selections From the Permanent
Collection," was created to spotlight
some of the museum's newest and
most controversial works from the lat-
ter half of the 20th Century.
A third special exhibition, "Early
Modern Masterpieces. Selections
From the Permanent Collection," fea-
tures more works from the gallery col-
lection which were made prior to 1948.
Pieces in this exhibition highlight
works from the School of Paris,
German Expressionism and early
European and American Modernism.
Finally, "A Celebration of

Lithography: Nineteenth-Century
Invention and Innovation" opened just
days ago and marks the 200th annivei-
sary of the inventior of lithography, a
printmaking technique. Among the
pieces on display are works by Honore
Daumier, Eugene Delacroix, Edouard
Manet and Henri de Tou'ousc-Lautrec.
It takes just as long to get to the DIA
as it does to get to Michigan State. and
the trip to Detroit is much more intel-
lectually inspiring. For the bargain
price of SI (student admission), the
history and art of the world is yours to
see. And you can even eat in
Greektown when you're done.

The Michigan Daily Weekend M!
® Music Feature
Rakim produces innovative hip-hop

The Detroit Institute of Arts
5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit, Mich. 48202
Hours: Wednesdays-Fridays 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; weekends 11 am.-5 p.m.
Directions: Take U.S. 23 north to M-14 east, then continue on 1-96 east. Take
the left off-ramp to 1-94 northeast, then turn right onto Woodward Ave.
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57M Wme O94&6w, a/991cct
aife e" 975-6720 *assiedkd
Saw. ?e Zee 669-9207 fde a ue!aud~eda

By Laurence Lowe
For the Daily
When Dr. Dre released "The
Chronic" five years ago, the rap land-
scape experienced, for better or for
worse, the most radical transforma-
tion of its brief history. Since then,
two prominent rappers have been
shot and killed, one record executive
has been jailed and another has such
a tight stranglehold on the main-
stream that MTV has toyed with the
idea of renaming itself "Puffy
Productions."
The "b-boy" has been replaced by
it Mafioso aesthetic and today's
videos are illuminated by Vegas-
neon rather than the chiaroscuro that
so deftly mirrored the streets from
which the artists came. In the past
five years, the art form of hip-hop
has made a noticeable departure
from its roots.
This is not to say that the industry
is experiencing a downfall - on the
contrary, rap was the most innovative
and groundbreaking music to emerge
from the 1980s. Also, regardless of
the praise that has been handed to
Brian Eno and Kraftwerk, it is the
most obvious catalyst for the present
electronic-music movement.
Hip-hop continues to influence
every facet of popular culture on an
international level. Some have point-
ed to Rakim Allah's latest work to
further support the claim that rap
music will "not go gentle into that
good night."
The Brooklyn-raised Rakim,
whose collaborations with
turntableist Eric Barrier yielded him
legendary status as the "greatest MC
to cver rock the mike." has released
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his irst solo effort, "The 18th
Letter." He has enlisted such rap
visionaries as DJ Premier, Clark Kent
and Pete Rock to fill the production
role previously held by Eric B.
Because Rakim last released a full-
length LP five years ago, expecta-
tions for the album are high and pres-
sure to succeed is coming from vari-
ous directions. Many fans and critics
wonder whether the aging Rakim can
breathe life back into a music once
defined by its ability to constantly
change.
On a first glance at the album
cover, shoppers might notice that the
obligatory "Parental Advisory" label
is absent. In the CD booklet, they
will find paintings as well as graffiti
art, some hailing the b-boy aesthetic,
others depicting African deities.
Listeners are greeted by Rakim's
voice, in which swagger and thought-
ful reserve naturally coalesce. An
unidentified man questions, "What
are you giving them back?" Dramatic
pause. "What I'm giving them back is
what they've been waiting for -
skills."
This introduction segues into the
title track, one of at least five songs
demonstrating the obvious influence
of the Wu-Tang Clan. An ominous
soundscape created by a scratchy
string section, far from looting a
style, pays homage to Wu-producer
Rza. Rakim bobs and weaves in and
out of the beat like a shadow boxer,
approaching his art in the busi-
nesslike fashion for which he is
revered.
The MC's braggadocio is not lost
on "It's Been a Long Time," in which
he unabashedly reinforces his own

legend: "The crowd couldnt wait to
see this / Nobody been this long
awaited since Jesus." Produced by DJ
Premier of the now-reunited
Gangstarr, "It's Been a Long Time" is
one of the strongest tracks on the
album for its vintage-Primo horn
samples and Rakim's "Follow the
Leader"-like lyrics that hearken back
to his earlier days.
"When I'm Flowin," the album's
final new track (not counting the two
remixes that close the album), is
another highlight, with its samples of
other-worldly sounds like those ema-
nating from the spaceship in "Close
Encounters of the Third Kind."
Echoing water droplets and a jazz-
inflected piano support fierce rhymes
like "Crowds are screamin' / I choke
the mike and keep squeezin' / Styles
seemin' like I used a thousand words
without breathing."
But the cut that stands out most is
the second single off the album,
"Guess Who's Back." It has every-
thing one might ask of a Rakim Allah
track: battle rhymes, bravado, symbi-
otic interplay between the DJ and the
MC, and a "tear tha roof off the
sucka" breakbeat.
When Ra declares "Some of the
things that I know will be in your
next bible / So when I die go bury me
and my notebook in Cairo," listeners
are left in such awe that they uncon-
sciously gravitate toward the repeat
button on their CD players.
Other than those mentioned, the
rest of the tracks are mediocre at best.
Although the album is largely incon-
sistent, anyone who attended Rakim's
State Theater performance this past
Sunday could attest that no current

Rakim's new album, "The 181
MC can rival his stage prey
was the meta-rapping kn
bearer of old, and his freest
tighter than spandex.
But even though Rakim
was successfully reinforce
be dangerous to entrust the
an entire art form to one
matter how awe-inspiring
might be. Such an action
justified if it was necessar
music is in no need of a Chr
The thinly populated
underground rejoices ever

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