Various Wild Pitch Classics

Before the rap music component of hip-hop culture became a moneymaking juggernaut for major labels, the efforts of little labels that could spurred the music to creative heights. While the roster of Wild Pitch featured the acclaimed political bent of West Coast group the Coup, the sound of the label embodied the sound of undiluted New York beats and rhymes in the late '80s and early '90s. As a precursor to the staggered release of their album back catalogue, this compilation features several bonafide classics from the label's pioneering artists. Gang Starr left the label acrimoniously and went on to arguably become hip-hop's most consistent group, so only one track, the wildly jazzy "Words I Manifest," is featured here, but the material remains consistently strong with tracks from punch-line king Lord Finesse and the underrated neo-Daisy agers the UMCs. Although the word classic can get tossed around meaninglessly, O.C.'s "Time's Up" and Main Source's "Live At The Barbeque" are two such tracks worthy of this status. In fact, anything Main Source did on Breaking Atoms, their only full-length that reached the masses, was flawless. Comprised of MC/producer Large Professor and his two Toronto-based DJs and brothers K-Cut and Sir Scratch, Main Source's break up was a sad loss, and the fact that they account for a quarter of this compilation underlines their impact. Rounding out the selections are some sleeper tracks from the likes of Chill Rob G and Kool Keith's original forum, the Ultramagnetic MCs, and with ex-3rd Bass member MC Serch presiding over the selections, the high level of quality control never wavers. (Wild Pitch)