Various Artists

Om Hip Hop, Vol. 1

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AllMusic Review by

While hip-hop hasn't ever been exactly at the center of the Om label's endeavors, there have been quite a few notable releases in that genre salted in among the acid jazz, house and techno discs that have been the label's bread and butter over the years. It was inevitable that Om would eventually set up a subsidiary hip-hop imprint, and it should come as no surprise that the artists who have gravitated towards that imprint are some distance removed from the rap mainstream. For example, Ladybug Mecca and Raheem DeVaughn offer a refreshing change-up on the male-rapper-with-female-singer tradition on their excellent "Dogg Starr," and "Hit 'Em," by Zion I and the Grouch, is based on an unusually hard and minimalist beat that is also a nice change from the usual. The jungly breakbeats and stuttering speed-rap of E Da Boss' "Go Left" is another solid winner, and Zion I and the Grouch get extra points later on for a startlingly humble ode to womanhood titled "Make U Fly." There are a few clunkers, notably the One's dreary downtempo sex rap and his plodding and silly "Pistol Whipped." Just about everything else, though, is worth multiple listens. Recommended.

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