Various Artists

The Perfect Beats, Vol. 2

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Volume 2 of The Perfect Beats lands the four-part series squarely in the middle of its lengthy subtitle, "New York Electro Hip-Hop + Underground Dance Classics 1980-1985." If Volume 1 is the launching point of the collection, and Volume 4 is the summing up, the middle chapters represent what the club-based movement was all about. In its post-disco reconstruction, the culture got a boost from the streets (which never really abandoned it in the first place) -- electronic powered funk gave birth to hip-hop and the first seeds of the union are prominently displayed here. The series' (and the music's) first significant Top Ten hit is on Volume 2 (Shannon's "Let the Music Play") as are a handful of crucial, but semi-obscure, tracks from the era. And cuts by Freeze ("I.O.U."), Loleatta Hollaway ("Crash Goes Love"), Man Parrish ("Hip Hop Be-Bop"), and New Order ("Confusion") are the basis for many R&B electrobeats to come.

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