Various DJ Spinna & BBE Soundsystem: Strange Games and Funky Things Vol. 5

If you are new to BBE's irregularly issued entries in the Strange Games and Funky Things series, it does help to adopt the mindset of a crate-digging vinyl fetishist and have a knowledge of East Coast underground hip-hop. That being said, it's definitely not essential to enjoy this expertly curated compilation. Presided over by DJ Spinna, who knows a thing or two about delivering music that focuses as much on educating the mind as moving the body, co-hosting events like the Stevie Wonder-themed revue, Wonderful, there's nary any fat to be found here. Straddling Latin jazz and obscure soul and funk, among other genres, the dots are nevertheless connected. However, it's been over a decade since this series started and downloading the crates in your personal playlists wasn't an option when it started. That's why DJ Spinna's bonus mix on a separate disc is equally as valuable as the mixed CD. Spinna teases out the horns of the Ambassadors' "Ain't Got A Love," known to many as the brassy opening of Pete Rock and CL Smooth's "I Got A Love," and makes sure that we catch the Run DMC and Eric B & Rakim breaks on "Ashley's Roachclip" by the Soul Searchers. While the material may be old hat to the dusty-fingered, the subtle mix of the selection ensures the series retains its relevance to the novice and the dilettante via its dedication to timeless music. (BBE)