The Hip Hop Box     

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Posted by Robert
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3/11/2004 6:08:46 PM
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The Hip Hop Box


Twenty-five years after 1979's "Rapper's Delight" broke open the floodgates, hip hop's influence is everywhere--from music to movies, fashion to vocabulary.  Now, honoring the past, celebrating the present and anticipating the future, the four-CD The Hip Hop Box (Hip-O Records/UMe), released April 20, 2004, brings together 51 of the genre's greatest turning points, highlights, landmarks and breakthroughs, each digitally remastered.  Starring most of hip hop's greatest artists, from the Sugarhill Gang of 1979 to the 50 Cent of 2003, the tracks were culled from dozens of record labels.

For the first time, as journalist Tom Terrell writes in the liner notes, The Hip Hop Box allows fans to "follow the drumbeat from Genesis to Revelation, innocence to hedonism, playfulness to violence, happiness to bitterness, self-hate to self-love."  Along with Terrell's historical essay, the box set features notes by Public Enemy's Chuck D and Michael A. Gonzales (co-author of the classic text on rap Bring The Noise), plus an essay by one of the set's compilers, paying tribute to hip hop's reggae heritage. The Hip Hop Box continues the Hip-O Records tradition of genre box sets, including The Funk Box (2000) and The Reggae Box (2001).

Chronologically arranged and so kicking off with hip hop's Big Bang, "Rapper's Delight," Disc One of The Hip Hop Box also offers the first real B-Boy record to sell a million copies, "The Breaks" (Kurtis Blow); the song that drew the line in the sand, "Sucker M.C.'s" (Run-D.M.C.); hip hop's women's emancipation with "Push It" (Salt-n-Pepa) and the birth of XXX hip hop with "Freaky Tales" (Too $hort).  Other classics include "The Body Rock" (Treacherous Three), "Planet Rock" (Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force), "The Message" (Grand Master Flash & The Furious Five), "Wild Wild West" (Kool Moe Dee), "Roxanne Roxanne" (UTFO) and "Roxanne's Revenge" (Roxanne Shante).

Disc Two picks up with the incomparable "Follow The Leader" from Eric B. & Rakim; "My Philosophy," one of the first great socially conscious raps, from the Boogie Down Productions of KRS-One; "I'm Your Pusher" from Ice-T, the first L.A. rapper to win national respect; the anthem "Fight The Power" from Public Enemy that punctuated Spike Lee's film Do The Right Thing, and "The Gas Face" from 3rd Bass, the first white rappers to crack the rap Top 5.  Also heard are M.C. Hammer, 2 Live Crew, De La Soul, Biz Markie, A Tribe Called Quest, Main Source, and Chubb Rock.

Disc Three busts it with "O.P.P.," one of hip hop's most enduring party starters, from Naughty By Nature; the crossover killer "Summertime" (#1 Rap/R&B/Pop) from DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince; "Tennessee" from Arrested Development, the fountainhead of today's Dirty South; "Slam" from Onyx, the pioneers of black punk-rap; "C.R.E.A.M." from the Wu-Tang Clan, the Parliament-Funkadelic of hip hop; "Regulate," the quintessential G-Funk track, from Warren G & Nate Dogg, and "Flava In Ya Ear," the beginning of the Bad Boy dynasty from Craig Mack.  Tracks from Queen Latifah, Digable Planets, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, and The Pharcyde join those from DJ Quik, Black Sheep, and Method Man (featuring Mary J. Blige on the "I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need To Get By" Puff Daddy mix).

Disc Four brings home the thug life with hardcore Ruff Ryder DMX and his street version of "Get At Me Dog"; the dirty version of "Gettin' Money (The Get Money Remix)" from Junior M.A.F.I.A. featuring Little Caesar, Little Kim and The Notorious B.I.G.; Noreaga's "Superthug (What, What)," and the RP remix of "Until The End Of Time" from 2Pac.  On the soul tip is "Tha Crossroads," the #1 Rap/R&B/Pop smash from Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.  Others
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