Various 7 Heads R Better Than 1: No Edge-Ups in South Africa

Seven Heads has always seemed to signify a little more than just being a record label. Artists associated with the NY imprint such as J-Live and Asheru have been schoolteachers and that scholastic background influences the conscious edutainment and an adherence to true-school hip-hop aesthetics that has typified the artists on the roster. Not surprisingly then, this compilation’s title draws its name from post-apartheid short story vignettes enclosed in the liner notes. The disc itself is solid material and unlike most compilations there’s nary any filler material. While Asheru impresses on "BMIG” and on "Mood Swings” with Talib Kweli, El Da Sensai and new signing Audessy bring gritty fundamentals to their contributions. However, the label’s acts aren’t just content to stay in one box. Sonic maverick Djinji Brown provides a soothing house excursion, J-Live feeds off live band Soulive and UK producer Richy Pitch provides a meditative backdrop for the crew’s debate on the (in)validity of BET. It’s this type of content that helps the compilation to present a feel-good compilation that is unified in its mentality and not necessarily in its sound. (Seven Heads)