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95% classic hip hop, 5% filler from the MOS stables - sad, really.
on 7 February 2012
So, almost a year ago Ministry Of Sound put out a 3 disc set titled "Anthems: Hip Hop," and it had over 30 real ground breakers in the musical genre of hip-hop. Now here it is, early 2012, and they are once again trying to capture lightning in a bottle. "Ministry Of Sound's Anthems: Hip Hop II" is a various artists 3 disc set of music of the highest order, more gems pulled from the 30 year plus history going back from the Boogie Down Bronx of New York City to the streets of London.
The list here this time around is impressive, from originators The Sugarhill Gang's "The Message" to Run-DMC's "It's Like That." the variety is rich, and fun, and takes me back personally, as when I first entered the Army in October 1984 I met 2 Black men who were from New York City as they were "spitting their rhymes" and playing Whodini's "Five Minutes Of Funk" on their cassette players FULL BLAST in the barracks, and most of us were like "what the heck is this?" Now, if you're under 25 and haven't heard of or at least have one of these songs on CD somewhere, you don't know (or will you recognize) these true classics of the genre.
Anyway, here's 54 songs on 3 CDs of great quality music. As in my last review, I didn't post the tracklist, but I'll give you the good and the bad, just like my other review here on Amazon:
CD 1 is nothing but classic 1980's hip-hop, for sure - N.W.A's "Express Yourself," Naughty By Nature's "O.P.P" and even Young MC's "Know How" is represented here. I'm so glad they haven't forgot some of the original women of hip-hop, like Roxanne Shante's "Roxanne's Revenge," and even Sweet T's "It's My Beat," which is so hip-hop it hurts my teeth it's so sweet!
CD 2 is all about the harder edge of the 1990's, and the West Coast/East coast rap war was in effect. Notorious B.I.G's "Juicy" jumps right out the gate, going to the Luniz' "I Got 5 On It" and even Cypress Hill's "Hits From The Bong," because these guys could roll a fat one like no rap group could and still drop rhymes onstage nonstop! A Tribe Called Quest's intelligent "Award Tour" and The Roots' deep cut "Good Music" only serves that using one's brain can work for you in hip-hop, and they are among the finest spitters of the truth. A special note is the ultimate tongue-twisting hard real raps of Smoothe Da Hustler and Trigger The Gambler's "Broken Language," which has the distinction of being nothing more but a duet, and an insane 4 minute one line poem with no kind of hook or anything. It's legendary, and this CD represents the history of the time very well.
CD 3 is the 21st century, and right out the gate is 50 Cent, who made rap easily digestible and accessible to the masses, used in commercials and in movies over and over and over again, making him a millionaire. Rap and hip-hop was about the talent, but if this one CD proves anything, maybe not. For instance, the one and only late great Ol' Dirty Bastard's (featuring Kelis) track "Got Your Money" tells you that talent is kind of sort of something that maybe you can do, but still make a huge hit! At least 5 songs on this CD have been featured in commercials selling everything from cars to cellular phones, and if you listen to them, you'll know. Remember, hip-hop for many in this already crowded millenium is a ticket to monetary success, not just glory.
Once again, though, I got a little lost about about a few choices here, but once again this release is geared towards my English brothers and sisters, so I'm sorry if I can't accurately say the following songs, when I hear them, are wprthy of being on this collection:
Skinnyman "I'll Be Surprised"
Ty featuring Roots Manuva "So You Want More"
Dizzee Rascal "Fix Up Look Sharp"
Wretch 32 featuring L "Traktor"
Jim Jones "We Fly High (Ballin')"
J Cole "Work Out" - this has only been out there since June 2011!
Royce da 5'9 and Eminem "Writer's Block" - this is only been out there since March 2011!
I'm sorry, but the Ministry Of Sound, just like their first release, decided once again to include some popular flash in the pan songs in this collection. Some of these songs have been played for over thirty years (in some cases) and are just as inventive as they sounded when first released, but these seven? They don't deserve to be included here - remember, it's just my opinion. I don't really fault them as they're just trying to give us the "now" songs with the classics, but I always thought that when a record company gets their heads together they should put out a good product for the people, not just sneak a few songs in that are barely a year old!
In the end, the title implies that this is supposed to be strictly songs that are the truest of hip-hop, but I guess you have to sometimes sift through the blah stuff for the gems.
I still give this collection 5 stars, but just barely. Ministry Of Sound is a multi-dimesnional conglomerate of media, from music to TV shows to a lot more, but when you package something for mass sales, be sure to tell the complete truth, huh guys? I just hope down the road MOS puts out a package filled with all 3 CDs of actual anthems, not tack on a few throwaway songs by artists that might not be here in a few years at the end for pity's sake or to boost these artist's saggy sales.
Look at MOS' "Hip-Hop Anthems I," and look at the tracklist for the last 5 or so songs on CD 3. Do you recognize them? Are these songs worthy of the word "anthem?"
I think not.
You guys missed again.
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