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The Pete Tong Collection
The Pete Tong Collection

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The history of house music, 8 Nov. 2013
Wow. I don't buy loads of house music, but I do know my club anthems. And this contains ALL of them!

Unlike other reviewers, I am very happy this is not DJ mixed, as it reminds me of the Mastercuts albums back in the day. This is more like the quality Trevor Nelson album from earlier this year, which also covered 3 decades of classics from the origins of the genre brought bang up to date with some recent hits.

Having listened to it non-stop since buying it, I definitely didn't have any issues with songs feeling too short, each one sounds exactly how I remember it (check the samples for yourself). And all those memories really came flooding back! With massive crossover hits (be it Adamski, Daft Punk, Robin S or Faithless) interspersed with absolute undisputed underground gems (such as Nightwriters, Marshall Jefferson, Joe Smooth or Future Sound Of London), there is literally no one that can honestly say this isn't a true history of house.

Purists looking for something super deep and more obscure, this clearly isn't aimed at you.

It has 60 very big tracks, none of which doesn't deserve a place on this collection. My favourite is Gat Décor. Big up Pete, the legend.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 31, 2017 6:07 PM GMT

Magna Carta Holy Grail
Magna Carta Holy Grail
Offered by The Happy Zombie
Price: £11.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't meet his own high standards, 8 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Magna Carta Holy Grail (Audio CD)
I've been up on Jay-Z since his on-wax debut in 1990.

He is, without a doubt, the most credible rap star on the planet. This is, however, despite a number of patchy albums sitting next to his classics. The reason why? It's because he has become so much bigger than the music. But you all know this...

So what's this album like? Well, it has some banging contemporary beats. It has some big name features. But does it have the hits? A few... but I think the biggest issue is the fact that some of his rhymes really sound quite lazy and lethargic. Don't tell me the guy on Tom Ford is as hungry as the guy on Dead Presidents back in the day.

And having Justin on the insipid hook of the lead track just left me cold. Some things, a bit like his past singles such as Sunshine and City Is Mine, just sound too contrived.

But Picasso and other tracks on here still bang hard, and this still ranks as a hip-hop essential for 2013.


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good major label debut, 24 Dec. 2012
I've lived with this album for a while now, rather than rush to review it.

The reason being that the hype around him and it was borderline deafening.

My conclusion is that it's a good albun, but perhaps not an out-the-box classic as some are suggesting.

Oddly, it's not a particularly West Coast sounding set, when compared to Game etc.
It actually has more of a soulful Southern twang to it.

One thing that should be mentioned is that the first single, The Recipe feat. Dr. Dre, following his major label deal, is only on this Deluxe Edition. And it's probably the strongest track on here, along with the innovative Swimming Pools. But it has to be said, this is a proper albun to listen to, rather than about hit singles on the radio or killing it in the clubs.

Quite a rarity in this day and age.

Anthems Hip Hop II
Anthems Hip Hop II
Price: £5.50

4 of 5 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.

Watch The Throne
Watch The Throne
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not Great, 15 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Watch The Throne (Audio CD)
Jigga has clearly made some classics in his time, although arguably hasn't delivered a sure shot since 'The Black Album'. Putting aside the hits from 'Blueprint III', it was hardly up there with 'Blueprint' or 'Reasonable Doubt'.

Yeezy came out strong with his debut 'College Dropout' but lost me on the next three, only returning to form on 'My Dark Twisted Fantasy'.

So was the hype of this collabo justified?

The first single 'HAM' and 'Otis' certainly didn't get me excited.

But the album is actually a decent listen. Opening track is hip-hop bliss, the Beyonce cut is very uplifting and the club hit 'N***** In Paris' is a genuine smash.

Production is superb, lyricism can't be faulted. Classic material? I'm not sure it's quite a-grade. But it's no 'Best Of Both Worlds', that's for sure.

The Dreamer, The Believer
The Dreamer, The Believer
Price: £11.16

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Used To Love H.E.R., 15 Feb. 2012
Common is one of the most consistent MC's in the game.

He's unafraid to experiment. He's unafraid of going against the grain. And he's delivered yet another classic.

To me, his peak was 'Resurrection' in 1994, the DJ Premier-helmed joint that included the golden age classic 'I Used To Love H.E.R.' with its clever hip-hop history theme. Second to this was his lavish, soul-infused 'Like Water For Chocolate' from 2000.

I would, however, add this new set 'The Dreamer, The Believer' not far behind. It's in the same league as 'Be' and 'Finding Forever'.

With quality beats throughout from Chi-town legend No-ID, the opening cut 'The Dreamer' along with the bangin' Nas duet 'Ghetto Dreams' set the bar extremely high. And the rest of the set does not dissapoint.

Agreed, there are no out-the-box hits for either radio, club or the pop charts. But, as any real fans know, that far from means this isn't a hot album.

My only criticism is the album is so short. I know the adage of quality over quantity, but just as you are really getting into it, it is suddenly over. But that's actually just because it is so good, you want more!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 28, 2013 3:50 PM BST

The Big Playback: the Soundtrack to Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists
The Big Playback: the Soundtrack to Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Diggin' Deep..., 7 Aug. 2011
This takes the definition of "old school rap collection" to a whole new level. It's put together by the U.S. team behind the legendary and infamous publication, not to mention the unforgettable Book Of Rap Lists (essential reading for both fact finders and comedy fans).

With so many gems to mention, top of the list is the extremely hard to find 'Droppin It' by the Bizzie Boys - absolute quality hip-hop from 1990. There's a pre-Bad Boy cut from Craig Mack under the guise of MZ EZ with the track 'Get Retarded', and there's more familiar names in the form of Marley Marl and Positive K.

Rawkus Records, the label this is on, rose to fame almost as quickly as it fell from grace - however this, together with their Lyricist Lounge and Soundbombing compilations, more than did the label proud.

The Darkside
The Darkside
Price: £17.20

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best hip-hop album of 2010, 5 Aug. 2011
This review is from: The Darkside (Audio CD)
Honestly, this hasn't left my iPhone's music player since release, it's my favourite hip-hop album of 2010 - and this is from a fan who picks up every major and indie release I can get my hands on! I don't have many Fat Joe albums in my collection ('Represent', his 1993 debut, is hot though!), but I heard some DJs playing the DJ Premier track 'I'm Gone' and the Soul II Soul-sampling 'Slow Down' and knew this was going to be up my street. And I wasn't dissappointed; this album is a monster. No cheesy pop efforts or collabos with big name current producers just for the sake of it, this is one for the "heads," with Joe on top lyrical form and back-to-back tight beats throughout. I urge you not to overlook this -in my mind it is one of the greatest albums of recent times - for real.

Apollo Kids
Apollo Kids
Price: £14.66

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible, 5 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Apollo Kids (Audio CD)
Can't recommend this to fans of Tony Starks high enough. I have all his albums, and have to admit the last few haven't quite hit the spot in the same way his classic first wave of releases did. But this is absolutely first class. No pop moments or overtly R&B tinged efforts, there are still tracks that the wider hip-hop audience can enjoy like "Superstar", while the guest artists are nothing short of A-game, whether it's Busta, Meth or Jim Jones. The production is awesome throughout. Have a listen to the clips and press "buy", you won't regret it. Up there with the Fat Joe and Nas/Damian Marley albums as my Top 3 hip-hop albums of 2010, while recommended as the best Wu album since "Chamber Music" in 2009.

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