Various Artists

Street Jams: Hip-Hop From the Top, Vol. 1-4

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Available either as a box set or as four individual discs, Street Jams: Hip-Hop from the Top, Vols. 1-4 is a superb collection of old-school rap, featuring most of the major singles and artists from the genre's formative years. Over the course of the series, such classics as "Rapper's Delight," "The Breaks, " "The Message, " "It's Like That, " "The Roof Is on Fire, " "Roxanne, Roxanne, " "The Real Roxanne, " "The Show, " "Freaks Come Out at Night, " "Nightmares," and "La-Di-Da-Di" are presented, usually in their full-length 12" mix. It's comprehensive and surprisingly listenable, illustrating that even from the start all hip-hop did not sound the same. It's an essential collection for any comprehensive urban, rap or pop library.

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