Various Artists

Soundbombing, Vol. 2

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With Soundbombing, Vol. 1, Rawkus introduced a ravenous stable of hungry underground MCs, but more importantly it also laid the preliminary groundwork for Mos Def and Talib Kweli's Black Star movement. Both play a large role in the development of Soundbombing, Vol. 2 as well. Mos screens a preview from his impending solo LP, the high-tech "Next Universe," and divulges "Crosstown Beef" with his Medina Green outfit. Talib and Hi-Tek's manifestation as Reflection Eternal contributes two highly illuminant tracks: "On Mission" and the cultivated "Chaos" (featuring Bahamadia). Rawkus' latest coup, Pharoahe Monch, gets militaristic with Shabaam Shadeeq on "WW III" and the virulent "Mayor." Eminem works his magic over a cartoon-like Beatminerz track on the neurotic "Any Man." Soundbombing, Vol. 2 contains an abundance of prolific collaborations, exemplified by Common and Sadat X's elegant "1999," Dilated Peoples and Tash's regal "Soundbombing," and Sir Menelik's "7XL" (featuring Sadat X and Grand Puba). One relatively minor blemish arises in the Beat Junkies' control of the LP's continuity -- their cutting and blending methods are peculiarly ineffective, and oftentimes lack direction. User friendly for underground or mainstream fanatics, SB 2 is the quintessential Rawkus project, and the label's finest moment to date.

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