A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this fun and funky album is a wholesome take on hip-hop, that despite its title, is geared more to the preschool set than to babies. A collaboration between noted hip-hop producer Prince Paul and some of rap music's biggest names, this is the second of a series dedicated to helping parents introduce their kids to the music they love without "dumbing it down." If the term "hip-hop" sends off alarm bells, have no fear -- this is gentle, fun, and definitely not controversial.
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What's the story?
The title of this album is a bit misleading -- it's not really best for babies, but for younger kids (4 and up). Structured around a bedtime story (sort of a book on tape), as read by a mom to her (slightly whiny) child (both voiced by Grammy winner and poet Ursula Rucker), this is the story of the Dino-5 -- a group of dinosaur kids who go to school, play soccer, and have their own hip-hop band. At first they're all scared of T-Rex, but once they get to know him, everyone is friends and they perform at a school talent show.
Is it any good?
Generally, the album is upbeat and the music is catchy and has its own brand of hip-hop soul, courtesy of the many notable artists contributing (Chali Tuna, Prince Paul, Wordsworth). The story presses many of the hot-button issues in kid-world, like making friends with someone who seems "different," and whether or not to eat broccoli, though it's good for you. And, though this hip-hop album is absent of any racial tensions, the clever allegorical allusions to differences in the dino-world gets the message across just fine.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about some of the everyday issues the kids (well, dinosaur kids) deal with on the CD. The group is afraid of MC T-Rex because he's big and scary-looking, but once they get to know him, they realize he's a great guy and a good rapper. Have your kids talk about a time when they misjudged someone because of appearances, and were surprised to find out that they were a lot like them.