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Rawkus Records: Best of Decade I 1995-2005
     

Rawkus Records: Best of Decade I 1995-2005

 

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Rawkus Records -- the little hip-hop indie label that could -- went through various major-label dealings over the years, eventually falling under the Geffen Records banner in 2005, in theory an unseemly partnership that did have one immediately positive outcome: a long-overdue best-of collection, Rawkus Records: Best of Decade I (1995-2005). If you're

Overview

Rawkus Records -- the little hip-hop indie label that could -- went through various major-label dealings over the years, eventually falling under the Geffen Records banner in 2005, in theory an unseemly partnership that did have one immediately positive outcome: a long-overdue best-of collection, Rawkus Records: Best of Decade I (1995-2005). If you're relatively familiar with Rawkus, you might find the title curious -- the "1995-2005" part, that is -- because for all means and purposes, the label became inactive once the '90s came to a close. Without a doubt, the glory years of Rawkus were the late '90s, back when the Soundbombing and Lyricist Lounge series were a cultural touchstone, back when Mos Def and Talib Kweli were considered a duo rather than solo acts, and back when New York was still the undisputed epicenter of rap music. By the end of the decade, something happened -- something abrupt. Rawkus still championed the occasional Talib releases, but everything else noteworthy about the label was history: the Soundbombing and Lyricist Lounge series lost significance, as did Mos Def and, to an extent, New York City. The South became the new epicenter of rap, and with that power shift came a major cultural shift as well (enter "bling-bling," "crunk," "trill," "grillz," "syrup sippin'," and the Ying Yang Twins). Those who lament the demise of everything Rawkus upheld in the late '90s (a freestyle rapping aesthetic, a hip-hop mindset, a positive outlook, a crass-less appeal, an independent approach, real talent, etc.) will celebrate this retrospective collection. It plays like a time capsule, resurrecting many of the label's late-'90s highlights and, indeed, the couple post-millennial ones it did have. The 15 inclusions are heavy on Mos Def features -- nine of the 15 tracks, to be precise -- and just about as many come from the assorted Soundbombing and Lyricist Lounge compilations. While it would have been nice to have a broader range of performers -- in addition to the ubiquitous Mos, there are multiple features for Talib, Pharoahe Monch, Common, and producers Ayatolla and Hi-Tek -- the emphasis understandably is on the cream of the crop. This makes Best of Decade I a great introduction to the late-'90s Rawkus movement for anyone who missed it at the time. If that means you, you're recommended to start here and then branch off, moving on to the Black Star, Black on Both Sides, Soundbombing, Vol. 2, and Lyricist Lounge, Vol. 1 albums. Do that and you too might lament the subsequent crunkization of rap.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/13/2005
Label:
Geffen Records
UPC:
0602498872932
catalogNumber:
000579802

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Weldon Irvine   Hammond Organ
Vere Isaacs   Bass
Dechown Jenkens   Guitar
will.i.am   fender rhodes
Duane Eubanks   Trumpet
Kendra Ross   Background Vocals
Vernetta Bobien   Background Vocals
Abby Dobson   Background Vocals
Chinua Hawk   Background Vocals
Shirley Saloman   Background Vocals
Penny Wrenn   Background Vocals
William Taylor   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Mike Heron   Producer
DJ Hi-Tek   Producer,Cut
Geoff Allen   Engineer
Jim Godsey   Engineer
Troy Hightower   Engineer
David Kennedy   Producer,Engineer
Guy Snider   Engineer
Kieran Walsh   Engineer
Steve Souder   Engineer
Max Vargas   Engineer
Minnesota   Producer
D. Stinson   Composer
Brian Brater   Liner Notes,Executive Producer
Jarret Myer   Liner Notes,Executive Producer
Tom Chianti   Engineer
Rockwilder   Producer
E. Snyder   Composer
Steve Mandel   Engineer
Kanye West   Producer
Pat Viola   Engineer
Shawn J. Period   Producer
L. Coleman   Composer
N. Hale   Composer
Ayatollah   Producer
S.T. Jones   Composer
D. Richard Lewis   Composer
Dave Dar   Engineer
Joe Nardone   Engineer
Mark Barnes   Marketing Coordinator
Ernesto Santana   Engineer
Mos Def   Composer

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