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April 16, 2003 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-04-16

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 16, 2003

ARTS

Production values, rhythms only
positives of new Diplomats album

By Joseph Litman
Daily Arts Writer
MUSIC REVIEW **I
"Cam's bettin' the house on me"
declares Juelz Santana on Diplomat-
ic Immunity's "Ground Zero." So
given that disclo-
sure, don't be sur-
prised to see The
Cam'ron out on Diplomats
the streets soon. Diplomatic
Juelz, much like Immunity
the other Diplo-
mats - Cam, Roc-a-fella Records
Jimmy Jones and
Freeky Zeeky - doesn't flow well,
and Immunity is a showcase of
impressive production, horrible
rhyming and amazing stupidity that
would be funnier were it not obvious
that the Diplomats thoroughly buy
into all the drivel that so readily
flows out of their mouths. The
album's glorification of the asinine
commences from its outset, "Un
Casa," a song on which a character of
the same name shouts out "Taliban,
bitch." Absolutely stunning.
From there, the record's verses
never improve as the nuggets of
ignorance pile up, and many listeners

may grow frustrated knowing that a
major label actually allowed this
album's creation and dissemination.
Through the persistent shouts to the
Dip Set Taliban, incessant boasts
about preeminent drug slangin', and
moronic invocations of the 9/11
tragedy, the Diplomats redefine
"vacuous" and "worthless." Their
preoccupation with Sept. 11 is
almost offensive given the meaning-
less context they construct around
the subject.
Such lyrical ineptitude is also
unworthy of the fine beats that the
Diplomats "rhyme" over. A sample-
driven double album, Immunity gets
excellent productions from a smatter-
ing of producers including Roc-a-
fella standbys Kanye West and Just
Blaze and newer beatsmiths like
Heatmakerz. The wide sampling of
beat makers lends the record a varied
tone, something necessary given this
release's bloated track listing. Unmis-
takably, the LP should have been a
single disc, yet the extended length
allows listeners to hear all manners of
sample styles, from the rock of "Built
This City" to the soul of "Who I
Am." The production display can be
engaging, and among the better beats
are Spike n' Jamahl's "Ground Zero,"

Hiroshima's "The First" and the
Heatmakerz's "Dip Set Anthem."
The puerile Diplomats habitually
ruin such fine beats, though. "I Love
You" epitomizes this problem, and
those who pay attention to Juelz on
the track will invariably shake their
heads having heard one of the worst
recorded verses in some time: He
doesn't actually rhyme and common-
ly addresses that problem by using
the same word repeatedly.
At the beginning of this record,
Cam and Casa waste studio time
incessantly asking each other
"What's really good?" By the
album's conclusion, it's clear that the
answer is the record's beats, but not
the Diplomats.

t

How can you forget what game you're playing when the title is on the screen so much?

WHAT'S YOUR FREQUENCY?
'AMPLITUDE' LATEST GREAT PS2 CREATION

By Adam Rottenberg
Daily Arts Writer
VIDEOGAME REVIEW ****I
Sony has unleashed the next great PS2 game, "Ampli-
tude," the sequel to the hit "Frequency." Sony Computer
Entertainment reworked the gameplay and tweaked it
into a game that not only defines
what its genre should try to do but A
transcends it. Music/rhythm games Amplitude
have tended to be niche titles at PS2
best, with "PaRappa the Rapper" Sony Computer
and "Dance Dance Revolution" as Entertainment
noticeable exceptions. However, the
ingenuity and entertainment found in "Amplitude" sets
the game apart from its competitors.
"Amplitude" enables players to build their own music
tracks from over 20 licensed songs. Following small cir-
cles on the screen, the player shoots the circles using the
PS2's shoulder buttons, and jumps from track to track in,
an attempt to build the entire song. If the bass and drum
lines are built, they will continue to play, enabling the
player to move onto another part of the song like the
vocals or guitar.

Power-ups help to make the process easier, but as the
difficulty increases, the patterns become harder to fol-
low and the choice in attacking the song affects the
score. Because of the different difficulty settings and the
various ways in which to build each song, the one-player
game offers a lot of replay value.
Graphically, "Amplitude" is one of the most unique
looking titles on PS2. The images are surreal and the
colors are vivid, but these visuals can cause a distraction
from the main gameplay. The audio is outstanding, fea-
turing the music of such diverse artists as Weezer, Blink
182, Run DMC, }avid Bowie and Papa Roach among
numerous others. Also, the building of the tracks causes
only certain parts of the song to be audible creating
interesting musical variations.
While "Amplitude" is a great one-player game, the
true strength lies in its multi-player modes. It offers vari-
ous options of versus and cooperative play and, like its
predecessor, features online play. As one of the few PS2
titles to incorporate online capabilities, it is truly worth
getting. The game may be confused for a glorified ver-
sion of the old "Simon," but it really is something far
more complex and entertaining. "Amplitude" is more
than just a genre title, and stands as one of the best
games released forPlaystation 2.

I I . I

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there's no telling what
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a health office, student lounges, laundry facilities, and storage space. If you are
going to be in New York City this summer, please consider staying with
us for a week, a month or the entire summer. Groups are welcome.
II\ _ . mm . - -A _ l nie 1 O. 1M -A m - -. 1 A .2

United States Air Force applied technology is years ahead
of what you'll touch in the private sector, and as a new
engineer you'll likely be involved at the ground level of new
and sometimes classified developments. You'll begin leading
and managing within this highly respected group from day
one. Find out what's waiting behind the scenes for you in
the Air Force today. To request more information, call
1-800-423-USAF or log on to airforce.com.

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