Marley Marl

Marley Marl's House of Hits

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Cold Chillin' certainly deserved the title House of Hits during the late '80s, with dozens of the best rappers recording classic tracks that placed high on urban play lists, if not the pop charts themselves. Marley Marl was blessed with a stable boasting immense talents, ranging from hardcore rhymers Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap to freewheeling talents Biz Markie and Masta Ace. As the classic House of Hits compilation ably proves over 15 tracks, Marley Marl was a master of tailoring productions to the talents of his varying rappers -- from the hardcore intensity of Kool G Rap & DJ Polo on "Poison" to the quick-paced vocal dexterity of Big Daddy Kane on "Set It Off" to the all-in-one classic posse track "Symphony, Vol. 1" (with Masta Ace, Craig G., Kool G Rap, and Big Daddy Kane). Even the same artist could get wildly different tracks; Biz Markie played up the clown prince on "Make the Music With Your Mouth, Biz," but also indulged in some humdrum cynicism for "Vapors" over a production to match. Fans of Cold Chillin' will want to dig deeper with separate volumes on most of the artists here, but few rap compilations match House of Hits at illustrating a standard unmatched by any label save Def Jam and Sugarhill.

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