Peanut Butter Wolf

2K8: BBall Zombie War

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Peanut Butter Wolf has proved he's an all-star as a producer, but his 2K8 collection shows that he commands so much respect that he can stock a full hour with exclusives or near-exclusives from the best producers in hip-hop. Part of a collaboration between Stones Throw, one of the best labels in hip-hop, and sports video-game maker Take Two, 2K8: BBall Zombie War finds Wolf rolling out a raft of tracks that make this compilation much more than just a co-branding opportunity. (The tracks were also slotted to appear in some of Take Two's games.) Most importantly, the late and lamented J Dilla appears three times, first on "Lightworking" with features for Talib Kweli and Q-Tip (driven by a Raymond Scott sample, no less); second with MF Doom and Guilty Simpson on "Mash's Revenge"; and finally, with a Jaylib remix of Quasimoto's "Hydrant Game." Madlib has even more appearances, including the opener, a debut for his project with Karriem Riggins called Supreme Team; an unreleased Madlib track called "The Wigflip"; the aforementioned Quasimoto/Jaylib remix; and a Beat Konducta joint called "Trouble." Aside from the veterans, a few relative newcomers make almost as much noise -- Aloe Blacc's "Find a Way" is a smooth and spacious contemporary R&B production that balances all the hip-hop on display, while the lurching electro production on Dam-Funk's "Sidewayz" would do Madlib proud. The new project James Pants has the track "Ka$h" remixed (by PBW himself) into an '80s video-game soundtrack by way of Prince, but funniest (if not best) of all is Niko's childish (literally) rap over a DJ Babu beat on "Now You Know." As usual with undie rap, the tracks are driven by more Sesame Street- and Electric Company-related samples than anyone could count, but this is one of the prime rap compilations of the year.

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