Various Artists

Tommy Boy's Greatest Beats 1981-1996 [Box Set]

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Only one label, Tommy Boy, spans hip-hop's entire recorded history with no loss of hits or perfect beats over the course of those ten years. The five-disc box released to commemorate the label's 15th anniversary includes a wealth of hip-hop classics, everything from "Planet Rock" to "Plug Tunin" to "Humpty Dance" to "Jump Around" to "Play at Your Own Risk" to "Hip Hop Hooray" to "Gangsta's Paradise." The addition of a few dance cuts -- from Information Society, Coldcut, and 808 State -- don't work quite as well as they should, but on the whole Tommy Boy's Greatest Beats 1981-1996 is an excellent collection that sums up hip-hop better than any other label could. The fifth disc includes nine Tommy Boy classics given the remix treatment, resulting in intriguing combinations like Grooverider with Jonzun Crew's "Pack Jam," Dimitri From Paris with Stetsasonic's "Talkin' All That Jazz," and DJ Premier with Queen Latifah's "Wrath of My Madness."

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 5:22
2 4:52
3 4:46
4 3:45
5 4:54
6
K7
4:23
7 4:14
8 7:51
9 4:34
10 3:55
11 6:46
12 5:51
13 4:21
14 3:27

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:40
2 3:03
3 4:46
4 6:48
5
K7
4:07
6 3:23
7 4:18
8 7:15
9 5:44
10 3:34
11 6:31
12 3:44
13 5:41
14 5:06
blue highlight denotes track pick