Review: For those whose Californian hip-hop collection is missing a few gems, the West Coast Classics series should be a must-check. The latest edition in the series of the light-touch "45 Edits" by Ronnie Frazzle serves up two more essential cuts from the peerless Dr Dre and lesser-celebrated Death Row Records signee The Lady of Rage. Side A boasts the superb "Nuthin' But A G Thing" from Dre's iconic 1992 album "The Chronic", in which the main man and Snoop Dogg trade verses over a typically on-point G-funk style beat. The Lady of Rage's 1994 jam "Afro Puffs" is a darker, sleazier and tougher affair, with the Virginia-raised rapper's distinctive flow rising above punchy beats, creepy chords and a filthy analogue bassline.
Review: The 5 Borough Breaks series has long been a good way of acquiring killer cuts that have some way played a part in the ongoing evolution of hip-hop culture in New York City. The hush-hush label's latest release boasts the full version of Betty Wright's head-nodding soul classic "Clean Up Woman", which boasts a breakbeat that has been sampled on scores of killer rap jams. On the A-side you'll find something a little less well-known: "Zulu War Chant", a 1992 cut by the Afrika Bambaataa and Rusty Egan-helmed Time Zone crew. It samples the familiar groove from "Clean Up Woman", adding a swathe of well known rapped and sung vocal samples and a hard-spun hip-hop beat.
Review: American group TLC were way ahead of their time. An all black group who sung about their own expertises with unbridled truth. "Creep" is the strongest example of that as it is based on member Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins's experience with infidelity. Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes actually threatened to wear black tape over her mouth when filming the music video as she disagreed with the sentiment but the track went on to become one of their biggest in terms of both critical acclaim but also commercial success. It went Top 10 in the UK and marked a new musical direction for the group that took them to even bigger heights.