Various Loud Records: The Early Daze

Loud had the privilege of releasing some of the finest hip-hop records in a time when the genre was hitting an all-time high. Two of the greatest efforts from the Wu-Tang camp came out through the record label and this compilation makes it clear that they're very proud of that fact. Wu-Tang's now legendary debut blew up spots all over the world and three tracks are represented on The Early Daze, as well as another Wu-Tang heavyweight in the form of Raekwon's debut masterpiece, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. The other gems that Loud has had the honour of unleashing are efforts by Tha Alkaholiks and Mobb Deep, which are also given ample amounts on this gathering of some fantastic hip-hop classics. Shame that the importance of these essential audio treats are tainted with the unbelievably crude "Put It In Your Mouth," by Akinyele, but that's almost forgiven for the fact that this record gives props to the underrated Delinquent Habits. The big downfall to this compilation, though, is the fact that these records are so essential for fans of hip-hop that most will already own these tracks, as well as the rest of the album that they belong to. With no rare tracks, B-sides or even remixes, it's hard to tell what true hip-hop fan would go out of their way to scope out The Early Daze. If you own the mentioned records, avoid this album, and if you don't own the mentioned records, you should be embarrassed. (Loud)