Various Artists, 'The Roots of Hip Hop' (Harte)

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The Roots of Hip-Hop
Critical Mass
Label: Harte

by Barry Walters

There's more talking and singsong vocalization than rapping in these forgotten blues, jazz, gospel, and hillbilly oddities from the 1920s through the 1950s, but the contemporary hip-hop connection couldn't be clearer if there were a T-Pain cameo. Sequenced thematically around timeless classifications such as the Church, the Gamblers, and the Badasses, this scholarly comp proves its relevance with unwavering and often hilarious topical familiarity. Gangsta lotharios battling fed-up females, smarmy sex doctors, broke bruthas knockin' over cops only to land in jail -- yeah, it's hip-hop.

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