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Here are the week's best releases from the pop-culture universe: 

CD -- What It Is! Funky Soul and Rare Grooves (1967-1977): This four-CD box features more than 90 tunes from the golden age of R&B. Don't go looking for "Respect," though. Most of these nuggets never cracked the Top 40 (Aretha does check in with a previously unreleased alternate mix of "Rock Steady," however). Bonus fun: Try spotting the truly funky beats that have been sampled by everybody from the Beastie Boys to Kanye West.

MOVIE -- Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan: Sacha Baron Cohen pissed off much of Kazakhstan with this razor-sharp satire, but it's Americans -- in all their homo-hating, beer-swilling, and anti-Semitic glory -- who are the target of this movie. You probably won't see a funnier flick this year. Is niiiice!

BOOK -- Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall & Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson: You've probably already heard about Brian Wilson's breakdown during the making of Smile, his magnum opus, which took almost four decades to release. You're probably also familiar with the sandbox that he built in his living room. But this terrific book puts Wilson's songs front and center. Sure, he's one crazy motherfucker, says author Peter Ames Carlin, but he's also one of pop music's true geniuses. We couldn't agree more.

TV -- Class of 3000: One of hip-hop's most animated characters -- OutKast's André Benjamin -- turns into a real cartoon in this new weekly Cartoon Network series (premiering at 8 p.m. Friday). Benjamin voices Sunny Bridges, a pseudo-autobiographical superstar who retires from the biz to teach a bunch of Atlanta kids how to play music. Benjamin also wrote and performs Class of 3000's theme song and contributes a new tune each week. Hey ya!

CD -- Gang of Losers: Montreal mope-rockers the Dears ease up on the dreary Morrissey influence on their relatively muscular third album, but they still excel at self-loathing (one song is called "You and I Are a Gang of Losers"). Singer Murray Lightburn practically begs to be coddled on songs like "Ballad of Humankindness." But these wimps can rock!

TV -- Rob & Big: This new reality series from the creators of Jackass features professional street skateboarder Rob Dyrdek and his bodyguard-turned-best-bud Big Black. The weekly show follows the mismatched pair as they hang out in Dyrdek's Hollywood Hills home, throw parties, and join a dating service. It premieres at 10:30 p.m. Thursday on MTV.

COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE -- How to Make Money Like a Porn Star: Writer Neil Strauss -- who helped Dave Navarro and Marilyn Manson pen crappy autobiographies -- knows a thing or two about being a whore. So it's appropriate that his latest book, a collaboration with comic artist Bernard Chang, is all about making it big in the porn industry. Strauss picked up most of his tips and contacts while hanging out with Jenna Jameson, whose How to Make Love Like a Porn Star he co-wrote. Sadly, he's far less interesting on his own.

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More by Michael Gallucci

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