Various Artists

Miami Bass: Heat Mix '96 [#2]

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Miami bass takes a lot of criticism from hip-hoppers in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston; many Northeastern hip-hoppers see it as lowest common denominator music and argue that bass artists take the easy way out by exploiting sex for a quick buck. But there is no law stating all rappers have to be as intellectual as Chuck D or KRS-One -- and while many bass artists may not have the most profound lyrics in the word, their beats are insanely infectious. Released in 1996, Miami Bass: Heat Mix '96 doesn't pretend to be intellectual -- it's simply a great party album. The bass compilation, which spans 1987-1993, contains some definitive examples of bass music, including the Dogs' "Do the Nasty Dance," Uncle Al's "Girls-n-da-House," Viscious Bass' "Shake That Thang," and Half-Pint's "Big Booty Girls." Most of the tunes are state-of-the-art bass -- the tempos are ultrafast, and the lyrics are all about wild, trashy, decadent fun. However, Bass Patrol's high-tech "Rock This Planet" (1988) is really electro-hop rather than bass. The track was obviously influenced by Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock," and it inspires comparisons to the World Class Wreckin' Cru (the group that Dr. Dre belonged to before he joined N.W.A and became a gangsta rapper) and the Egyptian Lover instead of 2 Live Crew, Tag Team, or 95 South. Nonetheless, "Rock This Planet" does have a South Florida connection, so it makes sense that Cold Front/K-Tel would include the song. Miami Bass: Heat Mix '96 isn't the last word on bass, but it's among the CDs to add to your collection if you're interested in exploring this wild and rowdy form of rap.

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