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Hip Hope Hits 2006

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2005 1 Aug
Hip Hope Hits 2006
Sounds like … a wide ranging hip-hop hits collection in the vein of those The Source Presents and Totally Hip Hop annual sets.At a glance … the biggest names, yes, but some glaring omissions and out-of-place tracks cut into the compilation's claim as being "the hottest."Track ListingFabulous Dramatics - 4th Avenue JonesIll M I - tobyMacIf I - GRITSDance Like - L.A. SymphonyI Can Call on You - KJ-52Love (So Beautiful) - DJ Maj (feat. Liquid)Nothing Without You - Pigeon JohnOne Time - LiquidSound Off - Mars ILLNew Day - VerbsPushing Through - ShonlockFree Checking - Deepspace5Bobble Head - John ReubenIntroducing (What's Your Name?) - The ProcussionsBounce - T-BoneLet It Go - ManafestZOOM - Ahmad Jones, Pigeon John, Rakaa, Molly JensenFear No Evil - Catt (feat. Bonafide of GRITS)

The second in a new series of yearly compilations comprising the best in Christian hip-hop, Hip Hope Hits 2006 follows the same mold as its predecessor, bringing together a bevy of heavy-hitters, pop rappers, underground soldiers, and promising newcomers in the genre. Take a cursory glance at the track listing, and it seems all the major players are there. But is name recognition enough to get excited? Yes and no. If we go by star power alone, Hip Hope Hits 2006 is unparalleled, as the biggest names are certainly represented here. But if we go by "hotness" factor, some of these songs are plain head-scratchers.

Leadoff track "Fabulous Dramatics," by 4th Avenue Jones, for example, is a fine rock track in its own right, but it's a weak choice to kick off a hip-hop compilation. L.A. Symphony's "Dance Like" is a brooding track that perhaps will get you to meditate on the words, but it will by no means get you dancing. And though "Sound Off" is a fine track, Mars ILL certainly has stronger moments than that. Other cuts (Pigeon John's "Nothing Without You," Catt's "Fear No Evil") are too minimalist and perhaps make more sense in the albums they're taken from, not as part of a multi-artist anthology of this caliber.

There are surges of inspiration, like the choice to include KJ-52's "I Can Call on You," GRITS' blazin' "If I," and even tobyMac's "Ill M I," all of which sound good in a hip-hop context. There's also some newbie surprises, like Shonlock's infectious "Pushing Through," DJ Maj's summery "Love (So Beautiful)," and Manafest's impressive "Let It Go." It's good stuff, but not good enough to balance out the weaker tracks, much less the glaring omissions—like, where in the world is The Cross Movement?

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