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Various Artists

The Soul of Hip-Hop

(Stax; US: 28 Apr 2009; UK: Available as import)

Hip-hop heads, whether they produce or just appreciate the music, are bound to get frustrated with a release like The Soul of Hip-Hop. Although it’s not exactly “snitching” on certain producers or anything of that nature, it still lessens an essential part of the culture: crate-digging. Now, some may argue that most of the Stax hits on here are well-known for breeding some of rap’s best tracks. For example, just listen to the first few seconds of Charmel’s “As Long As I’ve Got You” and you’ll get the point. Hint: RZA used the opening twinkling piano for Wu-Tang’s “C.R.E.A.M.”. And others can argue that most of the artists on here aren’t exactly unknown or hidden in a dusty crate of vinyl. But still, for the younger hip-hop fans who happen to stumble upon an old soul or funk track, the best part is hearing and then identifying a drum-break or horns sample. And compilations like this, even if it is filled to the brim with fantastic tracks, ruin that experience. For all those people just looking for a collection of some of Stax’s best, though, this will certain satisfy that craving.

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Weekly newspaper reporter by day, music reviewer by night (OK, and by day, too). When he's not writing for PopMatters, Andrew spends most of his time at online magazine Prefix and hip-hop site Potholes In My Blog.


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