Various Violator the Album

Chris Lighty, the man behind record label and management company Violator, has parlayed the shout-outs to his old crew on old Native Tongue records into a highly profitable business. Not surprisingly then, Violator serves as a rough snapshot of the different styles of commercial hip-hop. The rise of New Orleans rap is reflected in the inclusion of artists like the Hot Boys. New York thug rap is represented with many of the usual suspects such as Ja Rule and Cam’ron. However, the compilation’s best moments come from the most established artists featured. Despite its slightly jiggy feel, Q-Tip’s “Vivrant Thing” still rocks and Busta Rhymes who seems to be everywhere on the disc, slows down his hyperactive flow for the smooth “Bus-A-Bus” remix laced by Diamond D. Even LL Cool J sounds halfway decent on “Say What.” But in an effort to get every single one of his clients and artists onto the compilation, Lighty severely dilutes a tightness of a pared down track listing. So even though there is something for everyone here, you’ll probably find yourself listening to the same few tracks, not the whole thing. (Violator)