Various Droppin’ Science: The Best of Cold Chillin’

UK label Barely Breaking Even takes a break from issuing rare groove compilations to turn its attention to vintage hip-hop on their latest release. Droppin’ Science is full of classic tracks from the Cold Chillin’ artists collectively known as the Juice Crew, selected by legendary producer Marley Marl, who produced virtually every track. As well as featuring two of the finest MCs to grasp a mic, Big Daddy Kane and Kool G. Rap, the original bad girl Roxanne Shante, goofball genius Biz Markie and the thoughtful Masta Ace were also members. What makes this double (one mixed, one unmixed) CD compilation so vital is the enduring nature of its contents and the larger historical significance of tracks. MC Shan’s “The Bridge” provoked KRS-One’s bruising rebuttal “The Bridge Is Over” and the Blastmaster’s rise to iconic status, Big Daddy Kane’s verse on “Just Rhymin’ With Biz” is perhaps one of the most sampled ever and Craig G’s beat from “Droppin’ Science” anchored Notorious B.I.G’s remix of “One More Chance.” While more material from Biz Markie and Roxanne Shante would have been welcome, the solid nature of the compilation is underlined by the fact that much of the lyrical content still easily takes out many of today’s rhyme slingers. (BBE)