Personnel: Queen Latifah (rap vocals); Heavy D, KRS-One, Treach (vocals, rap vocals); Ken Lewis , Ken Lewis (guitar); Jerry Duplessis (bass instrument, drums); Jaz-A-Belle (background vocals); Tony Rebel (vocals); Kevin Batchelor (trumpet); Prakazrel "Pras" Michel (keyboards, drums); Lil' Mo (background vocals).
Liner Note Authors: Dana Smart; Tom Terrell.
Photographers: Sandra Johnson; Ernie Paniccioli; David Corio; F. Scott Schafer.
With her success on stage, screen, and every place in between, it was only a matter of time before the powers that be revisited and celebrated the roots of Queen Latifah. This ten-song compilation features the first queen of hip-hop where's she at her best and at home: in the recording studio. Thankfully trimming away the fat from 2002's nearly definitive She's a Queen, 20th Century Masters represents most of her well-known songs in fine sequence and form. However, the most inexplicable omission is the song that embedded her in the collective consciousness of the hip-hop nation in the first place -- "Ladies First" is nowhere to be found, and keeps this from being a proper greatest-hits compilation. Nevertheless, it's still a nice if incomplete celebration of a landmark artist who will go down in history as one of the most important female artists in the male-dominated world of hip-hop. ~ Rob Theakston