Nuthin' But a Gangsta Party, Vol. 2

The second volume in Priority's excellent Nuthin' but a Gangsta Party series again offers a roster of the West Coast's best gangsta rap artists and many of their most well-known songs. You get the obvious -- rappers like Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, and Kurupt; songs like "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang," "Who Am I (What's My Name)?," and "Hello" -- and you also get the not so obvious: lesser-known artists like Suga Free and Ra the Rugged Man and a little No Limit flavor. Plus, there's Low Profile's "Funky Song," a long-forgotten song from 1989 that is a welcome inclusion for its historical significance -- it gives you an idea of where West Coast rap began and how its sound has always owed a heavy debt to P-Funk. Overall, there's little to complain about. Even the lesser artists turn in excellent performances, and while it's tempting to dismiss the No Limit songs for being out of place on a West Coast rap collection, the two chosen songs -- "Down for My N's" and "Got 'Em Fiending" -- both have an obvious West Coast sound to them. So what you have is 19 standout songs from Priority's vaults that illustrate everything that's wonderful about the West Coast gangsta sound. And, finally, it's also important to note that this isn't the aggressive side of gangsta rap, but rather the funky side of gangsta rap. The fact that Priority includes a classic like "Funky Song" rather than something from N.W.A, for example, perfectly illustrates the sort of vibe they're going for here. ~ Jason Birchmeier

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