Like a pair of rapping Kid Dyno-mites, Kris Kross first blew up in listeners' ears two years ago. Backed by tracks created by Jermaine Dupri, a former dancer for Run-D.M.C., the duo of Chris Smith and Chris Kelly dropped "Jump," a zingy ditty that persuaded the masses to do just what the title asked. Then they unleashed Totally Krossed Out, an album that leaped to the top of the charts. It moved more than 4 million units and spawned another crossover smash, "Warm It Up." The Chrises defined themselves as "two li'l kids with a style that you ain't ever heard." They had more skills than other kiddie crews (including ABC, whom they dissed), but the real novelty was their clothing – oversize gear worn backward.
Having hit hard their first time out, the challenge for Kriss Kross now is to blow up even bigger. They probably won't, since their gimmick is sorta played out, but Da Bomb packs power. It displays maturity that swims in nickle-bag funk cleverly influenced by Dr. Dre's The Chronic. Dupri again wrote most of the rhymes, and he is back behind the board. His MO in the studio remains the same – jack other people's tracks and present them in a new context. On Da Bomb, rappers as well as soulsters and funksters get liberally sampled.
The album's lead single, "Alright," borrows its beat from Slave's "Just a Touch of Love," but its theme seems to be taken from Ice Cube's "It Was a Good Day." Flowing with smooth locomotion, the twin lead rappers check the climate. They remark on how cool things have been. Dance-hall chatterer Supercat stirs the song's chorus for maximum flavor. Along with a West Coast drawl, the Chrises' vocals exhibit an old-school vibe. This is taken to the top on "It Don't Stop (Hip-Hop Classic)," which they say is about "bustin' routines like the niggas in the '80s."
But it's the '90s, so Kris Kross give a few nods to New Jack gangstaism. They talk about "servin' all those fools in the nine-trey" and "takin' punks out." They sound threatening, even though their chat is strictly PG. On "I'm Real," they bounce lines like "All dat stuff dat ya pop needs to stop" over a thumping, quivering beat; in "2 Da Beat Ch'Yall," a loopy swinger, they're waiting for "that alphabet crew to make my day."
But Kris Kross don't just offer visions of annihilation. In "A Lot 2 Live 4," they offer hope to all their fans, a future with lots of promise.