Various Artists

Inside Out, Vol. 1: A Foolblown Compilation

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Foolblown is a mail order store that specializes in underground hip-hop. In 1999 they put together a compilation of some of their favorite underground artists. While it has a few songs that deserve to be skipped over such as "Twice as Hard" by Vixen, this collection does have more than its share of good tracks. The highlight is "Cholesterol" by Vast, who are one half of the Cannibal Ox duo along with Vordul. Cannibal Ox is also apart of a larger collective known as the Atoms Family. "Cholesterol" has a great beat by Shel Shock and Vast is very impressive lyrically. Other standouts are "In Sync," "Abusing the Rib," "North," "The Tugboat Complex," and "Small Violins." "In Sync" by Greenhouse Effect has a nice beat by Blueprint, and the MCs do a good job on the mic. Atmosphere's "Abusing the Rib" was also on Se7en but the version on this compilation works better. "North" by Oddjobs features a different beat for each MC; it works well. The deep-voiced, esoteric MC known as Aesop Rock contributes "The Tugboat Complex." It is produced by Aesop Rock himself, and while it may take multiple listens to find out what he is saying at times, it's worth it. "Small Violins" was produced by Kasm and features some of the members of the Atoms Family. Each MC takes a verse, proving their individual skills. Despite a few songs that are disappointing, overall this is a good album that will expose the listener to some artists who deserve more attention than they've received to date.