Album: Urban Explosion
Label: Warner Dance
Rating: 3 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
So here goes with another sizzling UK-released Hiphop compilation. Around six or seven years ago, when Hiphop was last the big cash cow (on the back of the success of Hammer and Mr Van Winkle) the majors flooded the market with UK-only releases featuring the “best of” Hiphop, rap “trax”, and “the greatest rap album in the world ever!!!” The fact that all these albums (probably partly due to licensing, probably mostly due to the fact that majors ain’t knowing shit) featured various mixes of ‘Summertime’, ‘Express Yourself’, ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’, and ‘The Magic Number’ was not lost on the more knowledgable heads.
With the recent success of Missy, Ja-Rule and the like on US, UK and worldwide shows, its obviously time for the majors to start milking the cow the best way they know how again, and so Warner present us with the double disc delight of “Urban Explosion” featuring “street beats, r’n’b flavas, desi licks, and hiphop joints.” Sounds exciting don’t it?
Anyway, besides the inclusion of standard Hot 97-esque fare (Missy, Benzino, Fat Joe, Angie, Busta etc), the other thing that raises eyebrows here is the inclusion of so many “bhangra” tracks. Its obvious that with the success of Panjabi MC’s Bollywood banger ‘Mundian to Bach Ke’, Warner think that flooding the compilation with similar artists will see people flock to embrace the latest trendy steelo of UK music culture. They’re probably right too…
Unfortunately those of us with more acquired taste (*looks down nose, sniffily*) can spot both a cash-in attempt, and a load of wanna-be band wagon jumpers at one hundred paces. Thus we can dismiss with a casual flick of the wrist, bobbins like Sukshinder Shinda’s ‘Dil’ which is Punjabi MC’s hit repackaged and replayed with a wack emcee tossed over the top. Likewise the presence of Sean Paul on here, an average toaster at best, still stands head and shoulders above tat like Shy-FX’s “sounds like my last hit” ‘Don’t Wanna Know’, or Jassi Jaspal’s ‘Mashook’.
For Hiphop heads, its also worth noting that most of the second disc is chock full of those turgid garage beats and emcees that piss us all off in a major way. Wack beats and dickheads with low skill levels are really the order of the day here.
So? Well if you want a snap shot of UK commercial radio – then this would act as a pretty good barometer. Its maybe something to fling on on a Saturday night when you’re having a shower and getting ready to go out – its “background” music, and trendy background music at that. This is Hiphop (and stuff) for FHM and Maxim readers – the type of people who NEED to be directed towards what’s hot, what’s not – wear THESE clothes, listen to THESE artists, jock THIS girl… Warner know they’ll be onto a winner with this because of these people.
Unfortunately for Warner – I ain’t one of em, and they caught me on a very bad day. Save your money here – you’re better sticking a tape in and grabbing 90 minutes of commercial radio, than shelling out for this.