Stones Throw 101
Most underground hip-hop fans won't need a primer on Stones Throw, easily the best independent rap label of the late '90s and 2000s, and the home of Peanut Butter Wolf, Wildchild, and a host of Madlib projects (Madvillain, Quasimoto, Lootpack, Yesterday's New Quintet). Nevertheless, for its 101st release the label organized a two-disc package including a DVD with all of the label's videos and a CD with a Peanut Butter Wolf mix album of Stones Throw classics and unreleased tracks. Actually, the set works better as a fan-only release (of which the label has many) than an introduction, including more obscurities than truly excellent nuggets. Everyone exposed to this package, though, will discover exactly what makes the label special: an unerring ability to inflict the most bizarre material on unsuspecting listeners lured in by the label's world-class beat-making. The mix disc from Stones Throw boss PBW shows his affinity for resurrecting forgotten music from many varying generations and styles -- from acid rock (the Stark Reality) to funk (L.A. Carnival) to new wave (Gary Wilson) to golden age rap (Dooley-O). As good as the music is, the DVD portion is capable of luring in more buyers than the CD; anyone who follows the continuing development of innovative music videos should consider owning these. Madvillain's "All Caps," a Marvel comic come to life, is the most stunning, although Quasimoto's "Come On Feet" is fascinating as well (imagine if Tool were ever hired to make a video for Sesame Street), and, for label fans only, "Whenimondamic" has Lootpack ranging around the California desert reprising The X-Files (making a freak like OutKast's Andre 3000 seem like Father MC in comparison).