Various Artists

Fat Beats & Bra Straps: Battle Rhymes & Posse

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The second volume of Rhino's female hip-hop series Fat Beats and Bra Straps spotlights Battle Rhymes & Posse Cuts -- that is, cutting contests and songs recorded by a full group. Like its predecessor, the disc is a little light on actual classics -- there's Roxanne & UTFO's "The Rel Roxanne," plus L.L. Cool J's "Doin' It," which really stretches the limits of the "female" designation, since LeShaun is essentially used as window dressing -- but the strength of the collection is that it rounds up a lot of rarities, obscure singles and forgotten album tracks that haven't been widely heard since their initial release. Among the more interesting cuts are De La Soul & Shortie No Mass' "In the Woods," Sparky D's "Sparky's Turn," Pebblee-Poo's "A Fly Guy," J.J. Fad's "Ya Goin' Down," the Coup's "This One's a Girl" and "The Show Stoppa (Is Stupid Fresh)" by Super Nature, which was an early incarnation of Salt N' Pepa. Anyone serious about hip-hop will find cuts like these quite interesting, but listeners looking for a handful of hits should realize that this is more of an archival, historical release than a hits collection.

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