Tommy Boy’s Greatest Beats

Tommy Boy’s Greatest Beats

Various Artists

Tommy Boy

Tommy Boy seems to lack vision in recent times, as evidenced by the release of Tommy Boy’s Greatest Beats. TBGB is marketed on Tommy Boy’s Web site (the GB timeline stuff is super nice — you can watch some of the songs’ videos via RealPlayer, but it denigrates to a timeline of predominantly Coolio and K7 hits and US news events — foreshadowing the need for the release of this 4-disc set; see below for URL) as a chronology of important musical developments in the history of the Tommy Boy label. Why that specific approach is supposed to appeal to the average Tommy Boy listener is an etiological mystery. However, what is glaringly apparent is the mileage Tommy Boy is wringing out of latent Afrika Bambaataa and Stetsasonic media drool.

Included are some good basics that most won’t mind having around on CD, even if you already have them on vinyl (tracks by Afrika Bambaataa, Stetsasonic, De La Soul, Digital Underground, and G.L.O.B.E. and Whiz Kid’s “Play That Beat Mr. DJ,” which I am particularly excited about, as my K-Tel Electric Breakdance record warped badly 5 years ago). Then there are the tracks that land somewhere between danceable and tolerable (Queen Latifah, Coolio, Total feat. Notorious B.I.G.). The final third fall nothing short of over-the-top inane (Information Society; RuPaul [although I did almost find a use for this at work last week]; Club Nouveau, god help us!). What were they thinking (mail insights to leroy@ink19.com)? People to whom the idea of a Tommy Boy box set might appeal would surely have the flame in their wallet extinguished by the mere mention of Club Nouveau. It’s one of those comps that makes you want to invest the time and labor to edit and re-record it on your friend’s CD burner. Tommy Boy, 902 Broadway, 13th Floor, New York, NY 10010

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