Personnel: Beverly Crowder (vocals, rap vocals); Teddy Riley (vocals, keyboards, programming); Dave Hollister, Dr. Dre, ELEN, Shaquanna Elam, Lamenga Ford, Shannon Cooper, Darryl Adams, Karen Anderson, Tammy Lucas (vocals); Antwone Dickey (rap vocals); Eric Williams, Mark Middleton, Chauncey "Black" Hannibal (background vocals).
Liner Note Authors: Anthony Cutajar; A. Scott Galloway.
Photographers: Taryn Simon; Mike Kobal.
Teddy Riley's post-Guy group, Blackstreet, are remembered best for their ballads, but their edition of 20th Century Masters offers plenty of evidence they were great with uptempo tracks well past "No Diggity." Besides that wicked classic, there's the should've-been-bigger "Booti Call" and "Fix," here in its great "Main Mix" with help from Ol' Dirty Bastard. No surprise that the ballads are all killer -- "Joy" especially in its elegant "New Carnegie" mix -- and the collection ends with the deep Sunday morning worship number "The Lord Is Real." That's a great set of music, but what are the compilers suggesting by skipping the Finally and Level II albums? Finally had some great stuff on it and Level II wasn't a total disaster ("Wizzy Wow" as a bonus track -- that would be something!). The collection thinks outside the box for a minute and grabs "Coming Home to You" from the Get On the Bus soundtrack, but the collaboration with Jay-Z, "The City Is Mine," would've been the real track to go for. The collection is hardly the one-stop shop for Blackstreet's career, but their first two albums were their best. If some mixtape DJ bootlegged a mix of the first two albums you'd be lining up at Mom and Pop's record store for the memories. Pretend 20th Century Masters is that mixtape and not the overview it pretends to be and you'll have a great time, absolutely no diggity. ~ David Jeffries