Where Kurtis Blow Presents the History of Rap, Vol. 2: The Birth of the Rap Record chronicled rap's first forays into the mainstream, Vol. 3: The Golden Age documents the point when hip-hop culture became an undeniable part of popular culture. There are more hits on The Golden Age than on any other disc in The History of Rap, featuring classics by such artists as Run-D.M.C. ("Rock Box"), Whodini ("Friends"), the Fat Boys ("Jail House Rap"), UTFO ("Roxanne, Roxanne"), Public Enemy ("Rebel Without a Pause"), Boogie Down Productions ("Criminal Minded"), Big Daddy Kane ("Raw"), Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock ("It Takes Two"), and Biz Markie ("Vapors," "Just a Friend"). At that time, rap was becoming more diverse, boasting different rhyming and production styles -- where early rap was similiar stylistically, there was a world of difference between the dizzying hardcore of Public Enemy and the comedy shenanigans on Biz Markie. The musical depth of rap is evident on The Golden Age -- it certainly does not all sound the same -- and while it does overlook some artists, it nevertheless is an invaluable sampler, capturing the essence of the era.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine