After appearing on two of rap's more accomplished and entertaining releases, Brand Nubian's 1990 debut One for All and his own 1992 solo effort, Reel to Reel, Grand Puba seemed to fall off the face of hip-hop. Three years later he resurfaced, freestyling first in a Sprite commercial and then with this long-overdue second solo work, 2000. Puba carried those first two records on the inventiveness of his rhyme style--a little Slick Rick swagger, some Biz Markie pop culture referencing and tone-deaf singing, and a lot of Puba's own distinctive whine and boast. On 2000, Puba recaptures all of that and sounds like he's never been away. As before, he packs scores of name drops and song snatches, from Erkel to "Little Drummer Boy," in between his own self-aggrandizing hyperbole and earns more than a few chuckles for the effort. Also tried-and-true Puba, the tracks on 2000 favor a heavy bounce and melodic soul groove over the more raw and rhythmic funk backings of most rappers--which means there's more music and fatter hooks than usual.