The idea behind In tha Beginning...There Was Rap looks good on paper: Take several of the biggest rappers of the '90s and have them cover classics from the '80s. Unfortunately, it doesn't play nearly as well as it reads. The big problem is that many of the artists don't add anything new to the original -- Puff Daddy's "Big Ole Butt" and Master P's "6 'n tha Mornin'" are prime examples of lazy rhythms and lazy rapping. Half of the album works fairly well -- the Wu-Tang Clan's "Sucker M.C.'s," Coolio's "Money (Dollar Bill Y'all)," Cypress Hill's "I'm Still #1," Snoop Doggy Dogg's "Freaky Tales," and the Roots' "The Show" -- but that's not enough to make such failures as Bone Thugs-n-Harmony's castration of "Fuck tha Police" acceptable. Some hardcore hip-hop fans might find it worthwhile to wade through the disc to find the good cuts, but they may find it a little exhausting as well.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine