August 25, 2003 12:00 PM

Various Artists (Star Trak/Arista)

Producers Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, collectively known as the Neptunes, showcase the hip-hop chops that have scored hits for everyone from Jay-Z to Justin Timberlake. But this compilation album, including an array of guest performers such as Busta Rhymes and Ludacris, rarely measures up to the best work the duo has done for other discs. “If I Couldn’t,” featuring Nelly, can’t touch “Hot in Herre,” while the Snoop Dogg-led “It Blows My Mind” is no “Beautiful.” Even the Neptunes’ leftovers, though, are still pretty stellar. And when Williams makes like Curtis Mayfield on “Frontin’,” he proves he could be a star in his own right.

BOTTOM LINE: Neptune in

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