Guru Baldhead Slick and the Click

Coming off the promising yet ultimately disappointing third instalment of his Jazzmatazz series, Guru has decided to indulge his Baldhead Slick alter ego for this compilation. While there are many recognisable names from the Gang Starr foundation and beyond featured here, most of the featured artists aren't very well known. Often this is a recipe for disaster, but Guru is the glue that holds everything together. If he's not dropping a verse, he's holding down the hook with his distinctive monotone. Aided and abetted by DJ Premier, Pete Rock and the Alchemist, among others, the sound isn't left wanting. Over this solid foundation, Guru keeps it moving with several MCs, including Ed O.G. and Big Shug, and Krumbsnatcha, on "Rollin' Dolo," an all-Boston affair. Despite the participation of many, the strength of this compilation - defying usual logic - lies in its parochial focus. The rhymes delivered by the many MCs on the project stays resolutely focused on gritty street fables, never aspiring to more or less and the production of many of the unknowns is obviously inspired by the unvarnished Gang Starr sound, giving the whole affair an honest and head-nodding appeal. (Landspeed)