Totally Hip Hop

As the single continues its downward slide in relevance within the music industry, compilations like Totally Hip Hop become increasingly necessary. Consisting predominantly of the most popular hip-hop-oriented hits from the first half of 2003 -- with a slight diversion to include OutKast's "So Fresh, So Clean," and a couple other tracks, from 2001 -- this disc is tailor-made for radio listeners and video-program watchers who don't make weekly trips to the record store to buy all the new full-length releases. The strength in the selections can't be denied; even if you've long since grown tired of Fabolous' droning chorus in "This Is My Party," you can just skip back a couple tracks to hear Lil' Mo's sweetly addictive "4Ever," in which he takes on a supporting role. Everything here was a major hit, and when the disc was released, several of them were still on the charts. Although the disc won't be as timely in a few years, it'll still function as a time capsule for the period it covers. Other key tracks include Lil' Kim's "The Jump Off," Sean Paul's "Gimme the Light," Clipse's "Young Boy," Tweet's "Oops (Oh My)," Wayne Wonder's "No Letting Go," and Petey Pablo's "Raise Up." ~ Andy Kellman

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