Various Artists

Rapmasters, Vol. 9: Best of Hardcore

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Released during the late '80s and early '90s, the volumes in Priority's exhaustive Rapmasters series plugged a gap in the rap-compilation market. They offered a decent alternative for rap fans who were on a budget and unable to snap up each single as it became available. In addition to tying up a good amount of classics, a lot of the tracks included remain tough to find. Despite the fact that no volume is definitive (there are some clunkers), each one is bound to introduce the listener to a previously unheard gem or two. The ninth volume of the series, subtitled The Best of Hardcore, includes Ice-T's "Ya Don't Quit," 2 Live Crew's "What I Like," Too Short's "Playboy Short," N.W.A's "Gangsta Gangsta," the 7A3's "7A3 Will Rock You," Stetsasonic's "Freedom or Death," and Eazy-E's "Radio."