Various Artists

Cars That Go Boom!

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Before the rise of hip-hop's Dirty South school in the '90s -- before anyone had ever heard of crunk or Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz -- the Southern rap scene was best known for a fast, hyper, danceable, club-friendly style called bass. No one ever accused bass of having the serious-mindedness of Long Island's Public Enemy or L.A.'s Ice-T; bass was party music, and its lyrics were generally frivolous, decadent and hedonistic. A bass-oriented compilation that Miami's Pandisc label assembled in 2004, Cars That Go Boom is far from the last word on the style; there is nothing by 2 Live Crew, 95 South, Tag Team or DJ Magic Mike (all of whom were important contributors to bass in the '80s and/or early- to mid-'90s). But if Cars That Go Boom is less than definitive, it still takes an enjoyable look at bass with tracks like Dial-9's "Bass in My Buick," MC Nas-D's "It's My Cadillac (Got That Bass)" and female duo L'Trimm's delightfully silly 1988 hit "Cars That Go Boom." Some bass purists may question the inclusion of certain tunes; DJ Laz' "Bounce to This" and Hipnotek's "This Is How We Ride" have more a crunk/Dirty South perspective, and Beat Dominator's frantic, rave-friendly "Speed Racer" is straight-up techno. But even though Cars That Go Boom veers into non-bass territory at times and has the occasional West Coast electro-hop groove, southern bass is the dominant theme -- and because bass has some things in common with crunk, techno and electro-hop, the compilation doesn't sacrifice its feeling of continuity. Cars That Go Boom isn't the ultimate or ideal bass-oriented compilation, but all things considered, it's a disc that bass enthusiasts will appreciate.

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