November 01, 1999 12:00 PM

311 (Capricorn)

Don’t expect a hoedown from these sometimes corny native Nebraskans. Singsongy tunes and spiritual rapping are what this multimillion-selling act from midwestern Omaha is all about. Equal parts Dave Matthews and MC Hammer, singer Nick Hexum never met a groovy, uplifting sentiment he couldn’t set to rhyming hip hop. Amid thumb-popping bass runs and crunchy-as-granola guitars, he mines every obvious self-empowerment trend from thinking for yourself (“Come Original”) to stopping to smell the roses (“Life’s Not a Race”). Except for a few transcendent melodies, this approach goes down like a bowl of soggy shredded wheat.

Bottom Line: Nutritious but annoying homegrown rock and rap

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