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CD$14.49

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released June 15, 2005 | Rhino

The fire was gone and the imagination and flair diminished on this 1987 album. Grandmaster Flash sounded too tired on such cuts as "Big Black Caddy," "Get Yours" and "U Know What Time It Is" to recapture the spirit and bristling intensity that made "The Message" an anthem. He was sadly more effective doing nonsense like "Them Jeans." ~ Ron Wynn
CD$2.49

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released November 16, 2018 | Rhino

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released August 19, 2016 | Rhino

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 4, 2015 | Rhino

CD$10.49

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released July 12, 2016 | Rhino

While they didn't garner the critical praise of their label cohorts, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, the Sugarhill Gang still produced their share of memorable slices of early hip-hop. Helping to bring Sylvia Robinson's Sugar Hill Records into the limelight, the label's namesake group erred more on the funk side of the hip-hop equation, plying a steamy, all-night mix of go-go grooves, straight funk singing, and rapping. 8th Wonder features the hits "Apache" and the title track, as well as such slick funk burners as "Hot Hot Summer Day" and the incredible bit of uptown dance alchemy "Funk Box" (shades of Prince here). 8th Wonder may not be as good a starting point for newcomers as roundups on Rhino and Sequel, but it certainly will be one fans won't want to miss. ~ Stephen Cook
CD$8.99

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released June 18, 2002 | Rhino

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released December 6, 2011 | Rhino

The longtime reissue label Rhino Records made a transition from faithful historian to active participant in the world of modern music with Jump on It!, the first new album by the Sugarhill Gang in more than 15 years. Combining their recent emphasis on old-school rap and children's records, label executives brought Big Bank Hank, Master G, and Wonder Mike back together to record an album of updated Schoolhouse Rock-type raps. Each of the ten songs are message tracks, beginning with the title track, a shout-out to kids that they're never too young to start reaching for their dreams. Other tracks focus on either specific educational subjects ("ABC's," "The Vowels," "Last Day of School") or on subjects more generally beneficial for kids' well-being ("Fireworks," "Sugar Hill Groove," "My Little Playmate"). As fun and educational as Jump on It! is for kids, though, this album is a non-starter for hip-hop fans. The trio's raps haven't progressed beyond (and may have even fallen back from) "Rapper's Delight," and from the sounds of it, Jump on It! was recorded in much the same way as all the classic material from Sugar Hill Records -- the music credits go to the Sugar Hill House Band, though individual members aren't listed. It's a much better tack than trying to update the Sugarhill Gang for the late-'90s hip-hop world, but this children's album doesn't make any kind of transition to adult audiences. ~ Keith Farley
CD$6.49

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released July 12, 2016 | Rhino

CD$16.49

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released March 29, 2011 | Rhino

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released November 2, 2010 | Rhino

CD$12.99

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released June 15, 2005 | Rhino

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five tried to regroup on this 1988 release, but old school hip-hop had been lapped by the charge of the new school. There was little interest or response to such cuts as "Tear The Roof Off" and "Boy Is Dope," while "Fly Girl" and "Magic Carpet Ride" sounded dated and weary. ~ Ron Wynn
CD$34.99

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released July 14, 2009 | Rhino

Sugar Hill Records was the first rap and hip-hop label, giving many listeners their first exposure to the urban rhyming and scratching that transformed pop music during the '80s. Like most indie labels, they had troubles with finances and distribution; eventually, that situation resulted in their records remaining out of print during the rise of the hip-hop during the late '80s and '90s. The five-disc Sugar Hill Records Story remedies this situation by collecting all of the label's classic A-sides, many in their full-length mixes, on one set. Tracks by the Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, and the Treacherous Three are commonplace and remain excellent, but the true revelation of the box set is how strong largely forgotten cuts by Spoonie Gee, the Funky 4 + 1, Trouble Funk, the Sequence, Super Wolf, and West Street Mob are -- these are supremely funky, infectious and inventive cuts, which have been made familiar through samples and quotations on modern rap records. Another surprise is how integrated this music is -- male and female rappers trade lines without hesitation, and there is none of the misogyny or violence that characterized gangsta rap. But that doesn't mean the old-school rap on The Sugar Hill Records Story sounds dated -- much of this bright, elastic electro-funk has provided the foundation for '90s hits by the likes of the Beastie Boys and Dr. Dre. But the most surprising thing of all is how The Sugar Hill Records Story barely loses momentum over the course of five discs. There is the occasional dull spot or oddity (check out the bizarre B-52's rip-off "At the Ice Arcade" by the Chilly Kids) that interrupts the flow, but the music is consistently strong, even on the fifth disc. It was inevitable that The Sugar Hill Records Story would be an important historical document, but what makes it truly essential is how rich, diverse, and timeless the music actually is. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
CD$1.99

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released July 7, 2009 | Rhino

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released June 11, 2009 | Rhino

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released June 9, 2009 | Rhino

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released August 7, 1994 | Rhino

Biz's Baddest Beats collects all of Biz Markie's hit singles, making the album a good introduction to his bizarrely humorous hip-hop. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
CD$14.49

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released May 26, 1992 | Rhino

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
It would have been hard to match the artistic success of their debut EP on a full-length recording, but Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth did just that on Mecca and the Soul Brother, and they did so in the most unlikely way of all after the succinctness of All Souled Out -- by coming up with a sprawling, nearly 80-minute-long album on which not a single song or interlude is a throwaway or a superfluous piece. Granted, 80 minutes is a long stretch of time for sustained listening, but the music is completely worthy of that time, allowing the duo to stretch out in ways that their EP rendered impossible. Again, the primary star is Pete Rock's production acumen, and he ups the ante of rock-solid drums, steady cymbal beats, smooth-rolling bass, and fatback organ, not to mention his signature horn loops. C.L. Smooth is the perfect vocal match for the music. He is maybe one of the few MCs capable of rapping a fairly credible love song, as he does on "Lots of Lovin'." "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)," a tribute to friend and Heavy D. dancer Trouble T-Roy, who was accidentally killed, packs a poignant emotional weight, but it is Smooth's more direct and conscientious -- and frequently autobiographical -- side which ultimately carries the album lyrically. The songs are connected and the album is propelled forward by Rock's quick, soul-tight interludes; these are usually bits of old R&B and soul tunes but sometimes they're spoken pieces or spontaneous, freestyle sessions. These interludes provide a sort of dense spiritual tone and resonance in the album that is not religiously based at all, but fully hip-hop based, emerging from the urban altars that are the basements and rooftops of the city. ~ Stanton Swihart
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released March 15, 2005 | Rhino

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 27, 2005 | Rhino

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released August 22, 2006 | Rhino