Various Artists January 03 2007

Hyphy Hitz

In his excellent liner notes for Hyphy Hitz, journalist Eric K. Arnold writes, "Though often blamed for promoting drugs, violence, and reckless driving citations, the hyphy movement gave a name to the lifestyle of inner-city youth, who created their own rebel culture when mainstream society refused to acknowledge their existence." Leave it to the radicals in the Bay Area to trumpet hyphy, a party scene similar to Atlanta crunk, into an important sociopolitical movement.

At the least, it's a potent new music style, and Hyphy Hitz helpfully collects several popular singles rarely heard outside the West Coast, including Keak da Sneak's "Super Hyphy," the late Mac Dre's "Feeling Myself," the Team's "Hyphy Juice" and the A'z "Yadadamean." The sound is classic bounce: heavy bass, dramatic and disorienting synth melodies and verbal slang such as "stunner shades" and "gouda."

With hyphy pegged as the next hot region in the rap sweepstakes, Hyphy Hitz will prepare you for the oncoming storm. 4 stars