Various Artists

Hip Hop 24/7

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The triple-disc Hip Hop 24/7 box set released by Deca Dance in 2001 features a diverse and debatably illogical array of rap music. The featured songs are all featured in their original 12" mixes and date as far back as 1979 (Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight") with most being from the '90s. The first disc is mostly hardcore rap, characterized by four classics from the Death Row archives (Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 2Pac, Warren G) and some East Coast tracks (Public Enemy, KRS-One, Jeru the Damaja, Wu-Tang). The second disc is a mixed bag of mostly obscure songs, though there are a few bigger artists here (Notorious B.I.G., Method Man, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang); however, even the contributions from these big-name rappers are fairly obscure. The third disc features plenty of old-school classics: the aforementioned "Rapper's Delight," Grandmaster Flash's "Adventures of Flash on the Wheels of Steel," Hashim's "Al-Naayfysh (The Soul)," and others that are a bit more obscure. Overall, this collection spans not only time and geography but also style -- it's a haphazard history of rap, showcasing everything from old-school electro to West Coast G-funk. And while many of these songs are undeniable classics, about half the collection is comprised of obscure songs by forgotten artists like Aim and Hijack. That this collection is of British origin may partly explain the questionable track selection, but you can't help but feel a little cheated by the filler and the overabundance of Death Row and Wu-Tang tracks.

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