Photographers: Steve Double; Jeffrey Kane; Michael Wifling; Michael Malfer; Michael Schreiber; Angela Boatright; Eugene Adebari; Michael Benabib; Robin Kaplan; Monique Bunn; Ernie Paniccioli; David Corio; Janette Beckman.
Arrangers: DJ Shadow; J.B. Moore; Larry Smith .
Hip-O's Hip Hop: Gold, which looks a lot like a halved version of the same label's four-disc Hip Hop Box, is one of those garden-variety compilations that matches each good pick with a couple questionable picks that look a lot like lazy blunders. On this double-disc set, you get a few tracks that have appeared on well over 100 titles (such as "Rapper's Delight," "The Message," and "Planet Rock"), along with several others that will someday reach that milestone (such as Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock's "It Takes Two," Arrested Development's "Tennessee," and Naughty by Nature's "O.P.P."). A few picks make for bizarre representations of the groups in question. How many Public Enemy fans would pick "He Got Game" as one of the group's ten best tracks? Why is EPMD present in the form of "Strictly Business" instead of just about any other form? That said, there's no denying that most of these tracks should be owned by every hip-hop fanatic, or at least any hip-hop fanatic who quit paying attention once the South began to truly rise (unsurprisingly, there are only a few tentative and peculiar tracks picked from the late '90s and early 2000s). ~ Andy Kellman