Various Artists

One Hot Minute: North Carolina Hip-Hop Compilation

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One Hot Minute is a two-disc collection of independent and unsigned North Carolina hip hop artists assembled by southern TV host Larry Pickett and Raleigh-based Hazardous Records. While not everything here is fresh and vital, the good news is how much of it actually shines, and the overall cohesive tone of this anthology is really fairly remarkable, given the number of acts involved. There is a distinct regional and southern feel to these 31 tracks, making it easy to be optimistic about having North Carolina up on the board. Highlights include the rowdy and renegade organ backing on Twain's "T.R.O.Y.," Kaze's "I Love You Haters" (which also features a relentless organ part), "Alumni" by Mr. Dev'Yon, and Smokwun's ode to herbal pursuit, "Dem Boyz." Also notable are "Dirty Scratch" by Kysheem, which features a surreal (but engaging) cartoonish-sounding rhythm track, and the dancehall-like "What's My Name?" by Locks. This project could have easily been a disaster full of amateur productions. That it isn't, and goes on to make a strong regional statement, is a wonderful surprise. North Carolina has definitely come to the party.

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