During the '90s, it seemed nearly every year brought yet another Grandmaster Flash compilation -- so much so that classic productions like "White Lines (Don't Do It)" and "The Message" began sounding played out. Finally, in 2002, two labels finally started paying attention to Grandmaster Flash the seminal DJ, instead of Grandmaster Flash the chart hero. Hot on the heels of Strut's fantastic The Official Adventures Of..., Rhino released Essential Mix: Classic Edition, similarly a contemporary look at the classic sound of the wildly diverse old-school rap scene. Surprisingly, though, there's little overlap between the two; instead of '70s funk mastermixes, here Flash focuses on mostly straight run-throughs of synth-heavy early-'80s R&B nuggets from Nu Shooz, Fatback, Maze, Rockers Revenge, D Train, and Weeks & Co. Essential Mix: Classic Edition doesn't have the restless creativity and energy that sparks The Official Adventures, but there is a lot of great material; highlights come with the transition from Blondie's Flash-dropping "Rapture" into "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life" and on to Liquid Liquid's "Cavern" (whose bassline powered Grandmaster Flash's own "White Lines").