Various Artists - Suondtracks, The (Death Row Archives) [PA] (Music CD)

Release Date: 13 December 2010
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The cover and track listing on the back don't cop to it, but Death Row Archives: The Soundtracks is a simple repacking of three soundtracks from the infamous label. It's built to a price with little effort put into the liner notes or design and no attempts at remastering. Included are the seminal Above the Rim soundtrack, the underrated Gridlock'd soundtrack, and the overstuffed, two-CD release of songs from and "inspired by" Gang Related. The near perfect Above the Rim comes from the label's golden age and includes Warren G's massive G-funk hit "Regulate" along with the always welcome "Afro Puffs" from the Lady of Rage. R&B does just fine on this set with H-Town's "Part Time Lover" leading the pack, but the smoother sounds on Gridlock'd and Gang Related aren't nearly as good, with the label's mediocre crooner Danny Boy being overrepresented on the former and forgettable songs all over the latter. By the time of the last two soundtracks, Dr. Dre had left the label and 2Pac had been senselessly murdered. While the label still offered some pure West Coast gangsta thrills, it was less often and sometimes the tracks were desperate efforts to keep current as the label's stock G-funk sound fell out of favor. Newcomers would be better served if this four-CD sprawler were halved, perhaps with Above the Rim plus a bonus disc that wraps the remaining three discs in a tight package. Longtime fans know what they're in for, and taking the affordable price into consideration, this easily portable history lesson becomes more desirable. ~ David Jeffries
Release Date: 13 December 2010

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Catalogue No: DRRCD63080