Kool & the Gang fans usually divide along the instrumental finesse of their early-'70s sides or the hit-heavy popularity of their late-'70s and early-'80s material. Titling a disc The Best of Kool & the Gang immediately causes battle lines to be drawn, and the scarcity of material here from their mid-'70s artistic peak -- only "Jungle Boogie" and "Hollywood Swinging" are represented -- makes for a tendentious release. Granted, it is a lengthy compilation of the band's post-breakout chart run, including all of their biggest J.T.-fronted hits: "Celebration," "Ladies Night," "Too Hot," "Joanna," "Emergency," and "Get Down on It." In fact, fans of early Kool may find here a succint set of material complementing the rest of their collections. For those dipping a toe in the water, however, understand that the reign of Kool & the Gang as funk's loose-limbed, good-time band occurred several years before any of these songs were recorded.
AllMusic Review by John Bush