Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality, Well Balanced Selection, 15 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Anthems Hip Hop II (Audio CD)
Having read some of the other Amazon reviews, even though they are largely positive reviews, I have to say I disagree with some of their points. This is a very well balanced compilation of hip-hop, not just suitable for entry-level fans but even seasoned veterans of the culture.

Each CD clearly covers a different era. What I really appreciate about the way this is compiled is that we get the commercial/crossover hits to ease us into each CD, then it takes you deeper with an array of classic anthems that genuinely cover all facets and sub-genres of the scene. When you reminisce back to each era, you didn't just have hardcore, gangsta, blunted/stoner, NYC street-hop, UK grime, conscious or backpacker head-nod rap - you had it all. And it's all well represented here.

CD1 is old school, kicking proceedings off in fine style. Considering this is a sequel (therefore much ground has already been very well covered), we're hit with some stone cold, familiar-but-still-timeless classics from the likes of Sugarhill, Grandmaster Flash, Run-DMC, NWA, Whodini, Jungle Brothers et al. Play these at any moment in any situation and you are guaranteed a positive reaction. This is followed by some quality, retro material from the same time - T La Rock, Stezo, JVC Force, B.D.P. and the mighty Ultramagnetic MC's. We even get DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince showing their skills before it all went Hollywood for them! NB. fact fans: this CD is not just 1980s as another reviewer incorrectly states, the hilarious Jackson 5-sampling 'O.P.P.' was from 1991 and 'Rapper's Delight' was 1979.

CD2 covers the 90s golden age. You start with the superstars Biggie, Jigga, Nas, Cypress Hill, The Wu, Fugees etc. at their prime. And again, once you get past the bigger hits at the beginning (all of which undeniable still bump hard!), things delve deeper. This time we get sublime classics from Mobb Deep, Common, KRS, Black Moon and Tribe. It's then rounded off by some real forgotten gems - including the likes of Souls Of Mischief, The Roots and Smoothe Da Hustler. This is certainly not a selection aimed at an uneducated audience as other reviewers insinuate, this is the real deal that would make any serious collector proud.

CD3 takes in the late 90s and brings it suitably up to date. Opening with big hits from Fiddy, Cube, O.D.B., Xzibit, DMX etc. you soon get a vivid picture of where hip-hop was/is now at. This CD then takes the opportunity to remind us that artists like De La Soul, Brand Nubian, EPMD and Pete Rock & CL Smooth are still making hot records that can get a party amped. We have a great snapshot of the UK scene too. I read the US reviewer on Amazon questioning these which seems somewhat unfair given a small amount of research on their part (reviewing their critical and commercial success) would soon prove their validity. SkinnyMan and Ty/Roots Manuva more than put in their work on the underground and shine bright with these tracks, arguably their finest cuts; whereas Mercury Award-winning Dizzie Rascal broke down barriers at the beginning of his illustrious career with this in-ya-face anthem. He certainly opened the door to newcomer Wretch 32 too, featured here with his excellent, hard-edged grime/hip-hop hybrid track that broke him into the mainstream. We then wrap it up with the club classic Jim Jones hit from 2006 that established the DipSet Capo's solo career, the biggest hit (and now club anthem) from recent US No.1 artist J Cole and a 2011 street classic from lyrical Detroit duo Royce and Em.

All in all this is a well rounded, highly enjoyable, well balanced selection - and perfect companion to the first volume (which covered 2Pac, Dre, Snoop, Public Enemy, Gang Starr, Big Pun etc.).

To my knowledge, there is only one artist signed to Ministry Of Sound included, and - in reply to the same Amazon reviewer's other incorrect accusation - the last three tracks on the previous volume were not only Top 5 hits but started life as credible specialist records (supported by Westwood, Choice FM etc.).

Looking forward to Anthems Hip-Hop III.
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