Label: Ministry Of Sound
Subculture Media Review:
(originally published on Suite 101)
One of two things has happened here: Either the team behind putting together the list of songs to be included on the album had no idea about hip-hop music, or they just couldn’t get the rights to the songs that wanted to include. Of the 54 so-called Greatest Hip-Hop songs of all time, only a very few of them deserve to have the word “greatest” put anywhere near them … many aren’t even hits. Some artists are severally misrepresented … I mean who in their right mind would say that “Joints & Jam” by the Black Eyed Peas or “Forgot About Dre” by Eminem are either artist’s best songs? Surely songs like “Stan” should have been a shoe-in.
But perhaps the biggest disservice to hip-hop is that one of the greatest hip-hop artists of all time doesn’t even get one track included. Did anyone in the Ministry of Sound offices ever remember a certain artist called 2Pac? If they did, then they might have thought of including a track like “California Love,” one of the best-selling singles of all time. These kinds of omissions are unforgivable and make the album look like a joke.
The poor song selection makes each of the three discs very hit-and-miss indeed. Disc One is chock full of ordinary tracks that even the most hardcore hip-hop fan would struggle with. “Ms. Jackson” by OutKast and “Get UR Freak On” by Missy Elliott are the only worthy mentions, but what’s the point of just two tracks out of eighteen being any good?
Disc Two lifts the game a little with some commericial hits by the likes of Nelly, Salt-N-Pepa, the Notorious B.I.G., Cypress Hill, Ice Cube, 50 Cent and Ice Cube, making it more than serviceable. But all that good work is undone by a very ordinary Disc Three that is only saved by some classics by Run-DMC, Tone Loc and Kelis.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter whether it is simply poor song selection or the fact that Ministry of Sound couldn’t afford the rights to the songs they wanted, all that matters is that the album is an insult to hip-hop music and no one in their right mind would fork out $30 for it. A complete disaster!
Over the years Ministry Of Sound Anthologies have become a Bible to dance music fans in the same way that any Triple J Hottest 100 is a must have for those who love alternative music. Now Ministry Of Sound have branched out and released Anthems: Hip-Hop to celebrate thirty years of hip-hop… a three disc set no less. But seriously perhaps they should stick to dance music because while Ministry Of Sound claim they have captured the 54 greatest hip-hop tracks of all time, they have certainly missed the mark.
Clearly what Ministry Of Sound meant to say was they have captured 54 hip-hop songs that were cheap enough to purchase because these albums are loaded with ordinary tracks (that could hardly be considered hits… and certainly don’t deserve to have the word ‘Greatest’ placed anywhere near them) while there are some huge omissions, such as 2Pac (surely with the number of times we hear “California Love” each year that should have be remembered) and Lil’ Kim (a huge mover and shaker in the hip-hop world). Other strange choices include “Forgot About Dre” as one of Eminem’s best songs (how about including one of his hits???) and “Joints & Jam” by The Black Eyed Peas… doesn’t take a genius to work out that it certainly wasn’t one of their greatest hits.
Disc One is the biggest offender with only OutKast’s “Ms. Jackson” and Missy Elliott’s “Get UR Freak On” saving it from being a complete waste of time. Disc Two certainly saves the day with 50 Cent, Ice Cube, DMX, Cypress Hill, Nelly, Slat-N-Pepa and The Notorious B.I.G. making for one hell of a party mix. It’s also nice to see “Kick, Push” by Lupe Fiasco getting a little bit of love… he has to be one of the most underrated hip-hop artists going around. Disc Three is again another right off with only Run-DMC, Tone Loc and Kelis there to save the day.
It seems Ministry Of Sound set itself a task beyond it’s reach when it tried to fill 3 discs with hits, there are certainly more than 3 discs worth of hip-hop hits out there, Ministry Of Sound just chose the wrong ones (or couldn’t get the rights to the ones they wanted… we have to give the benefit of the doubt there). Perhaps they would have been better just trying to make a single disc of hits and doing the genre proud.