Various
The Kings of Hip-Hop
(Outside)
The Kings of compilation series scores again. DJ Premier of Gang Starr takes this theme less literally than you’d expect, selecting vintage soul tunes. Some are more essential than rare, like Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You.” Others will be a revelation, like “Men Are Getting Scarce,” a lost track by Chairman of the Board, early solo Curtis Mayfield and mid-’70s Percy Sledge. Disc two curator Mr. Thing selects 10- to 20-year-old beats and rhymes. You can’t go wrong with Eric B and Rakim (“Microphone Fiend”) and the stupidly infectious Kenny Dope. The late ODB blusters manically on “Brooklyn Zoo.” He was mad in every sense. On which disc fans find a beauty — and on which one an education — will depend on their own vintage.
—Doug Taylor

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