Various Artists

Hip Hop Essentials, Vol. 7

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Stetsasonic's "Talkin' All That Jazz," released in 1988, might be the most exemplary track in the history of hip-hop, even though it's nowhere near as well known as "Rapper's Delight." Its sample sources, including Banbarra's "Shack Up" and Lonnie Liston Smith's "Expansions," are some of the most notorious to date. And though they make very brief and practically buried appearances, the sly percussive flicks from Mtume's "Juicy Fruit" play a very important role -- James Mtume had spoken out against producers who rely on sampling, and his words get filleted by Stetsasonic's vicious rhymes, though he is never addressed by name. "Talkin' All That Jazz" has it all: it's a heated dis track, which argues strongly for the validity of sampling, and it deploys a flurry of craftily used breaks. It's also part of one of the better volumes in Tommy Boy's Hip Hop Essentials series. Though the disc, the seventh of 12, contains several oft-compiled classics (including Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock," Jimmy Spicer's "The Bubble Bunch," and Public Enemy's "Fight the Power"), it also features several classics (Salt-N-Pepa's "My Mic Sounds Nice," Queen Latifah's "Wrath of My Madness," and Crash Crew's "On the Radio") that should be familiar to as many rap fans as possible. Tommy Boy loses points for spelling DJ Quik's name with a "c," but they redeem themselves by closing this volume with Digital Underground's "Doowutchyalike," one of the loopiest songs heard on the radio during 1989 and 1990 (with an absolutely berserk video to match).

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