Afrika Bambaataa/Various Eastside

When someone with legendary status such as Afrika Bambaataa decides to compile cuts that he feels represent East Coast hip-hop, from Herbie Hancock to Outkast, you had better take notice. This double album certainly serves up some incredible treats with most of the golden nuggets being found on the first disc, containing the more classic jams from the likes of Eric B and Rakim, Boogie Down Productions and Ultramagnetic MCs. Though even before Bambaataa touches these late ’80s must-haves, he takes us back a little bit earlier. "Rapper’s Delight” and "The Message” could have easily and predictably been thrown in to represent the Sugarhill Gang and Grandmaster Flash respectively, so it’s refreshing to see we’re given even greater numbers like "8th Wonder” and "Freedom” instead. Schooly D’s "Saturday Night” and Run DMC’s "Peter Piper” are welcomed with open arms, helping make the more historic side of Eastside a more enjoyable listen, but what was Afrika thinking of when he decided to drop some slow jams such as Guy’s "Teddy’s Jam” and the horrid "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss” by PM Dawn? Luckily it seems that he regains his senses when it comes to the ’90s portion of the program and quickly delivers classics from Black Sheep, A Tribe Called Quest and Nas. A few more roadblocks come our way in the form of Father MC and then things quickly fade directly into the new breed of MC such as Petey Pablo and Cee-Lo, leaving very few highlights to end our hip-hop journey through time. Having Afrika compile such an effort was a great idea and there’s some truly great and essential hip-hop classics on these two discs, but there’s too many absentees (EPMD, De La Soul and Gang Starr) whose slots seemed to be filled by cats who should never have been considered. (Obsessive)