DVD: Hip Hop – The Collection
Label: Classic Pictures
Rating: 7 / 10
At first glance, this DVD/CD package might appear a somewhat strange prospect with apparently no single label backing the production and a seemingly random selection of artists from both sides of the Atlantic. However, regardless of the thinking behind it, anyone in the know will realise that any release featuring tracks by Rodney P, Roots Manuva and Braintax, among others cannot possibly fail to be straight heat.
The DVD itself is a combination of five Sets, regular audio tracks and ‘visual mixes’; more on those later. Of the live sets, all five sets of artists more than live up to their reputations with Taskforce (accompanied by DJ Louis Hackett) and former DMC team champions the Mixologists particularly impressive. So good are these sessions that it really is a such a shame that they are not given longer to truly flex their skills; just 5 minutes or so of Taskforce just isn’t enough given the strength of their back catalogue. Also worthy of particular mention is Karl Hinds who drops his classic UK answer to Big L’s ‘Ebonics,’ ‘Don Gramma,’ again proving that he is just as dope live as on wax.
In addition to these live videos, the DVD features several ‘visual mixes’ too, which to be honest are mainly little more than the just audio tracks with what look like PC screensaver patterns covering the screen. Exceptions come in the form of Roots Manuva’s ‘Dreamy Days’ video and the excellent ‘Unbreakable’ video from Ice, featuring La the Darkman. Given that, as I mentioned before, Taskforce are given only 5 minutes worth of video, it seems a bit of a waste that these ‘visual mixes’ occupy space which perhaps could have been used to much better effect. Finally, also included are several more stand-alone audio tracks, of which Braintax and Jehst’s ‘Riviera Hustle’ is the obvious highlight. Again, it’s a shame that we don’t get more of these two superb artists rather than three appearances from Ice, who isn’t bad, just a little average when compared to these two established MCs.
In conclusion, while you can take issue with some of the visual elements of the DVD, the audio is something which can hardly be faulted and, as such, leaving the DVD on simply ‘Audio Mode’ proves a great listen, combining all the live and studio tracks in one long mix. The CD itself, however, unfortunately only includes the studio tracks and although still a good listen, the opportunity to play some of the live material in a normal CD player would’ve pushed what is already an excellent package firmly into the ‘must-buy’ category.