Various Artists

Playersoul: Rare Grooves and Funk Classics

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With the recent spate of reissue compilations and various-artists releases compiling years of lost funk 45s, it's easy to get lost in the mix and tough to differentiate what is considered a lost classic and what isn't. Playersoul takes out much of the guessing and crate-digging legwork by providing a blueprint to early funk classics that gave impetus to many of hip-hop's golden age anthems. You can literally play "name the song that sampled this" with nearly every track included here. Ripple's "I Don't Know What It Is But It Sure Is Funky" was used in Kid 'n Play's anthem "Rollin' With Kid 'n Play" (as well as Mary J. Blige's "Everything"), Soul II Soul used Maceo's "Got to Getcha" for their club hit "Jazzie's Groove," Gang Starr and several others used the Skull Snaps' "It's a New Day" for inspiration -- and there are many more songs on Playersoul that could be easily spotted. While many of these songs haven't been reissued up until now, they haven't lost much of their luster, and their driving backbeats and emotional vocal deliveries are just as important now as they were during their heyday. It's a fun compilation that not only gives long-lost classics their proper day in the sun, but also serves as an excellent educational resource for those needing to be taken to school on the origins of funk.

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