Various Beat Generation

Even if you’ve been aware that Peter Ardakwah, the head honcho at the remarkably consistent London-based BBE label has been putting out compilations by top-notch hip-hop producers in the Beat Generation series for the past couple of years, this compilation is still worthy of your attention. While some of the best moments from the series like Jay Dee’s shimmering cover of Donald Byrd’s "Think Twice” and King Britt’s "Superstar” featuring the vocals of Toronto’s own Ivana Santilli reappear, there are actually some moments that were originally excluded from the original albums that favourably pop up. Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s "Back On The Block” shows the duo’s timeless chemistry and Jazzy Jeff’s "Are You Ready” makes one mourn the original Slum Village line-up. But the series’ strength lies in the artistic freedom granted to its participants. DJ Spinna, who made his name on Rawkus-era independent hip-hop, shows how his forays into house and broken beat have become increasingly accomplished and "Lay Me Down,” the lovely yet indecipherable Will I Am production shows why anyone checked for Black Eyed Peas before they traded in their credibility for cash. While Allen Ginsberg’s "Bengali Paraphrase” appears at the end to preserve the historical link, it appears the new Beat Generation is in some very good progressive hands. (BBE)