Various Artists

First Generation Rap

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At four discs and 40 songs, First Generation Rap may be a tad excessive for the casual fan. But to rap aficionados, there is quite a lot here to absorb. Featuring some of old-school rap's true innovators, this collection shows some of the first examples of things that most people take for granted when listening to rap. One example is the hard street anthem "Ghetto Life," one of the very first reality-based rap songs from the little-known rapper Source. Virtually every rapper today writes the same sort of true life stories into their rhymes, but at the time there were few other musicians outside of Grandmaster Flash and Los Angeles punk rockers who would talk about what was really going on in the American ghetto. A very young Doug E. Fresh appears, performing one of the first songs to incorporate the human beat box, "Get Fresh Doug and Do the Box Beat." Although it was a trend that eventually played itself out, rap first introduced the idea of the human beat box, and musicians still reference it in samples at times. These are only examples of the sort of musical breakthroughs that appear on this compilation. These may not be the very first instances of these trends, but to hear the framework for the future of hip-hop being built is still an important experience. Anyone curious to hear rap's origins should look to this album, as it is not only quite interesting but the music is still quite good. As on many of the vinyl singles of the time, instrumental versions of some of the original tracks are available on the album also.

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