Various Artists

Ruthless Records Tenth Anniversary: Decade of Game

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Ruthless Records Tenth Anniversary: Decade of Game is a double-disc set celebrating a decade of gangsta rap from Ruthless. The compilation could have been a definitive look at the early days of gangsta rap, but the disc suffers from relying on too many obscurities and album tracks at the expense of hits. That's not a fatal flaw, but it makes the record less attractive to casual listeners who simply want a summary of Ruthless' highlights. What you get instead is a summary of Ruthless' sound. Over the course of two discs, most of the group's heavy hitters -- N.W.A, the D.O.C., Eazy-E, Above the Law, Michel'le, MC Ren, J.J. Fad, H.W.A -- are heard (only Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is missing). Occasionally they're represented by their best songs, occasionally not, but they all have representative tracks, and that alone makes it interesting, if not entirely successful. Collectors should note that the disc contains two previously unreleased Eazy-E tracks, "24 Hours to Live" and "Black Nigga Killa," neither of which are particularly noteworthy.

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