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Previewing new albums from Busta Rhymes, the Concert for New York City, the 'Ali' soundtrack, and more

In The Beginning...

Busta Rhymes"Genesis" is an appropriate title for rapper Busta Rhymes' new album, his first under a new recording deal with J Records. "I went into this album with a clean slate," he says. "When you aren't stressed, you can come creatively in a whole new way." First single "Break Ya Neck," produced by Dr. Dre, is No. 27 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. The set also sports guest spots from Kelis, Mary J. Blige, Jaheim, Rah Digga, Flipmode Squad, and P. Diddy.

"I've always had amazing guests on my joints, but this time the lineup of talent is incredible. I really think that musically as well as lyrically, 'Genesis' is my strongest record and honestly it came to fruition when folks need it the most."

Blige guests on the bouncy "There's Only One," while Diddy turns up on the club oriented "Pass the Courvosier." Says Rhymes, "You know me and Diddy always make the hot tracks, and this time we hit the studio, cracked open the bottle, and rocked it."

Rock For A Cause

McCartneyThis week sees Columbia's two-CD release of "The Concert for New York City," held Oct. 20 at Madison Square Garden. The album features multiple tracks from such rock legends as Paul McCartney, the Who, David Bowie, and the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, plus songs by Bon Jovi, Destiny's Child, Billy Joel, Eric Clapton, James Taylor, and Elton John, among others. A VHS/DVD will follow on an as-yet-undetermined date.

The show's star-studded finale featured the new McCartney song "Freedom," which powered onto Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Sales chart at No. 14 last week.

Columbia's net proceeds from album sales will benefit the Robin Hood Relief Fund, which has already been the beneficiary of some $30 million earmarked for Sept. 11 relief efforts.

Honoring 'Ali'

R KellyTwo new cuts from R&B artists R. Kelly and a third from Alicia Keys anchor the Interscope soundtrack to "Ali," Columbia Pictures' upcoming bio-pic of boxer Muhammad Ali, starring Will Smith. All songs were written for the film; Kelly's "The World's Greatest" is the leadoff track and first single, while Keys' bluntly titled "Fight" will follow.

"The World's Greatest" is at U.S. radio now, and a video directed by Billie Woodrfuff (Toni Braxton, Backstreet Boys) has been shot. The song is said to be a tribute to the more humanitarian aspects of the athlete.

The "Ali" soundtrack also features a new tune from Everlast, a former boxer himself, plus previously released material from Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Bilal, and Angie Stone. The film, written and directed by Michael Mann ("The Insider"), will be released in U.S. theaters on Dec. 25. Jamie Fox and Jon Voight also star.

Additional titles hitting stores this week include:

-- a new album from Southern rapper Ludacris, "Word of Mouf," featuring the single "Roll Out (My Business)"

-- the self-titled third set from California pop/rock outfit Smash Mouth (Interscope)

-- a rarities collection from underground rock act the Get Up Kids, "Eudora" (Vagrant)

-- the various artists collection "Ozark Folksongs," featuring field recordings from the early 1940s (Rounder)

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