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Previewing new albums from Lil' Bow Wow, Cheb Mami, and more.

'Baby' Got Back

Lil RomeoAt the tender age of 11, rapper Lil' Romeo has already achieved something many more-seasoned artists are still hoping for: a No. 1 record. His debut single "My Baby" -- produced by Mike Diesel and flavored by a loop of the Jackson 5's own 1969 No. 1 "I Want You Back" -- is in its sixth week atop Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart.

Lil' Romeo's eponymous album on SME/Priority Records, due this week, is a gumbo of sounds. There's the bounce flavor of the South on such cuts as "Where They At," featuring his dad; "CP3"; and "That's Kool," a remix featuring Romeo's uncle, Silkk the Shocker. Other songs, such as "The Girlies," "Little Star," and "Make You Dance," are hip-hop/ R&B/pop-oriented.

"I write for the kids," says Romeo, who is the son of rap mogul Master P. "If nobody bounces to the music, it's not a beat for me." The artist will do some spot dates on 'N Sync's summer tour as well as some shows with fellow teen star Aaron Carter.

Additional titles hitting stories this week include a new album from Algerian vocalist Cheb Mami (who was featured on Sting's hit "Desert Rose"), "Dellali" (Ark 21); the various artists collection "MTV's 20 Years of Pop Music" (Maverick); U.K. mood rock veterans Tindersticks' "Can Our Love..." (Beggars Banquet); and a collection of tracks by members and associates of the Wu-Tang Clan under the name Wu-Chronicles, "Chapter II" (Wu/Priority).

Also new this week is DJ Richard "Humpty" Vission's "Damn, That DJ Made My Day" (Tommy Boy); hard rock act Cradle of Filth's "Biter Suites to Succubi" (Spitfire); and John Williams' soundtrack to the Steven Spielberg film "A.I." (Warner Bros.).

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