Various Artists

Blazin' Hip Hop and R&B

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There was a lot of quality rap and R&B dominating the airwaves in 2002, and compiling it was no small feat -- especially when given the consideration that the neo-soul movement that artists like Lauryn Hill and D'Angelo helped to establish took full force and pushed itself in the forefront of commercial audiences. There was still a lot of pop-savvy R&B and hip-hop that made an impact, especially the bounce anthem "Bootylicious," which firmly planted Destiny's Child lead singer Beyoncé into the A-list celebrity spotlight. And while Dirty South and East Coast rap still held a firm grasp on things (represented here by Project Pat and Jermaine Dupri), it was artists like Jill Scott that made a potent impact with her brand of new soul that was desperately needed to break up the potential monotony of the R&B airwaves. The brilliant and potent ode "This Woman's Work" is taken outstanding care of as it passes from the hands of Kate Bush to Maxwell, and closes with the queen of smooth soul, Sade. It's solid for casual listeners of the genres and a well-constructed document of the state of hip-hop and R&B circa 2002

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