Various Artists

Hip Hop: The Evolution [Two-Disc Set]

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While it's true that the 36 songs on the two-disc version of Hip Hop: The Evolution do span a large section of the genre's life, the fact that the tracks are not in chronological order -- nor in any kind of discernible order, really -- make it a little unclear as to how the compilation is showing listeners how hip-hop evolved. There's a heavy focus on '90s rap, from Notorious B.I.G. (who gets three songs) to Busta Rhymes to Ol' Dirty Bastard to Puff Daddy to House of Pain to Ice-T, offset on both ends of the spectrum by acts like Afrika Bambaataa and Handsome Boy Modeling School. This isn't to say that there isn't a lot of good music on Hip Hop: The Evolution, because there absolutely is, and the compilation is a nice refresher for anyone who listened to hip-hop in the '90s. But it's also a little fractured in terms of order and completely excludes artists like Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, Jay-Z, and Rakim, not to mention the entire West Coast scene, so whether it can really claim to show any kind of evolution is more than a little debatable.

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