Various Artists

This Is Gangsta Rap

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Released by the X-Ray subsidiary of Cleopatra (uh-oh), This Is Gangsta Rap -- replete with Godfather-style typography on its cover -- is a two-disc set that is a rather arbitrary look at aggressive rap that often involves violent imagery. Not all of it is gangsta rap; some of the artists here, such as Large Professor (who contributes "Rapid Fire") and KRS-One ("How Bad Do You Want It?"), really have no business being on a gangsta rap compilation. That said, this isn't a bad selection of hard-edged material -- it just has no chance of living up to the title. Featured artists include 2Pac, Loon, Westside Connection, Snoop Dogg, and well over a dozen unknowns.

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