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Various Artists The Beat Generation

The hip-hop tracks that open this compilation are all solid, but it's the second half's soul and funk that make The Beat Generation shine. Selections by luminaries DJ Jazzy Jeff, Will.I.Am and Pete Rock are worth a listen, but don't find these classic artists at their best. In contrast, tracks like "Hummin," by Marley Marl and featuring Roy Ayers, and the ultra-funked "Superstar" by King Britt stay with you long after the disc has stopped spinning. The closing track, a selection from Allen Ginsberg, caps off this reminder of what the beat can mean in different hands.

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