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***, VARIOUS ARTISTS "Death Row Greatest Hits," Death Row/Interscope

November 24, 1996|Cheo Hodari Coker

With all the legal problems facing the world's leading rap label, it's easy to forget that the "Records" at the end of Death Row's name refers to those of the sound system variety, not the police blotters of artists Snoop Doggy Dogg and Tupac Shakur and owner Marion "Suge" Knight.

But Death Row churns out hits by the truckload. This 33-track, two-disc compilation of previously released songs and unreleased remixes by the likes of Snoop, Dr. Dre, Shakur and others is a piping-hot reminder that dramatic recordings--not real-life turmoil--are what made the label one of the most innovative and successful start-ups of all time.

Disc 1 might as well be labeled "Dr. Dre's Greatest Hits." Virtually every brilliant Snoop performance, from the opening "Nuthin' but a G Thang' to the slippery "The Shiznit," is underscored by a rollicking Dre funk mix. But it's Daz's near-symphonic remixes of "Let Me Ride" and "Gin & Juice," and super-reduced mixes of "Who Am I" (by Daz) and "Lil' Ghetto Boy" (by Tony G. and Julio G.) that are the musical highlights of an album that should attract even more fans in search of hard-hitting, machine-gun funk.


Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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