Various Om: Hip Hop Volume 1

Though neither really known nor respected as a go-to provider of hip-hop, soulful, forward thinking San Fransisco label OM Records has definitely been stepping up in recent years to fill that void in its roster. Despite featuring only eight different artists (with two cuts a piece), OM’s first ever all hip-hop collection, creatively titled, er, Hip Hop Volume 1, does feature some of the Bay Area’s brightest together with some of the label’s long standing, beat-driven soldiers. Blackalicious’ Gift of Gab continues to show why he’s one of the illest (and perhaps, most underrated) on the mic alongside fellow guest Lateef on E Da Boss’s motor mouth expo "Go Left,” while Zion I and the Grouch add some much needed grit to the label with the sparse, blip-accented pop of "Hit ‘Em.” Official Master At Work Kenny Dope adds a nice, shuffling, old school break to his retouching of Ladybug Mecca’s "Dogg Star” and the Little Brother-esque Strange Fruit Project team up with missing-in-action soul sista Erykah Badu for the mid-tempo banger "Get Live” before J-Boogie’s Dubtronic Science steps in with the grooving, broken-beat, dance floor killer "PPP.” It’s a well-rounded collection with a few much-deserving artists who will hopefully earn some more attention from it. (OM Hip-hop)