May 22, 2001
Koch International
Pop/Rock, Underground Rap, Hardcore Rap, Jazz-Rap, Alternative Rap, East Coast Rap, Turntablism

Album Review

Fat Beats is best known as a much-respected underground hip-hop store, with franchises in New York and Los Angeles (the latter of which has a strong connection to the Beat Junkies turntablist crew). In 2001, Fat Beats branched out into releases of their own with Fat Beats Compilation, Vol. 1, a mix of newly recorded tracks and underground joints from the last several years that had never before appeared on CD. Opening and closing with turntablist cuts from the X-Ecutioners and the Beat Junkies' DJ Babu, respectively, the comp brings to light a generally excellent selection of singles that deserve to be heard by more than just dedicated crate-diggers. Big-name veterans the RZA (as Bobby Digital), Grand Puba, and KRS-One all fit the underground-purist aesthetic quite well, but the real focus is on the lesser-knowns and new names. Bumpy Knuckles' raw style fits his politically incorrect references to a tee on the hugely entertaining "The Lah," which is immediately followed by "Legacy," the terrific first single by backpacker favorites Non-Phixion. Elsewhere, Canadian MC Saukrates comes off well on the spare "Father Time"; the Juggaknots' "Clear Blue Skies" is a full-fledged drama on the subject of interracial romance; Pacewon's "Sunroof Top" has a brash appeal; Virginia's Supafriendz build their highly literate "Consequences and Repercussions" on a Beethoven sample; and female MC Helixx weighs in with the trip-hoppy "My Time." All in all, it's a wide-ranging cross-section of hip-hop's underground at the dawn of a new millennium, and the future looks bright indeed. With a little more publicity, Fat Beats could well take over the mantle of Rawkus' Soundbombing series as the top name in underground hip-hop compilations (and its re-release on the larger Koch label is a step in the right direction).
Steve Huey, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Stuck in the Past
  2. The Lah
  3. Legacy
  4. Hot Shit
  5. Bigacts Littleacts Remix
  6. Father Time
  7. Average
  8. Clear Blue Skies [Remix]
  9. My Time
  10. It Must Be Bobby
  11. Sunroof Top
  12. Charge
  13. Up & Down
  14. Consequences & Repercussions
  15. Metal Thangz
  16. Temple Tactics
  17. Fat Beats