Established in 1996 by producer Chris "Peanut Butter Wolf" Manak, Stones Throw serves as a benchmark for innovative hip-hop music. This compilation, originally released last year as an in-store exclusive through Guitar Center, arrives at the height of the L.A.-based imprint's popularity. It collects underground hits (Lootpack's "Whenimondamic" and Aloe Blacc's "Arrive") and crucial album cuts (Madvillain's "Figaro" and J Dilla's "Two Can Win") and demonstrates the label's diversity with rare grooves (Co-Real Artists' "What About You?") and airy pop (Koushik's "Be With"). Rap fans, however, may notice that a few classic singles are absent, chiefly Rasco's towering "The Unassisted." And Stones Throw Ten Years comes shortly after another Stones Throw compilation, Chrome Children. That collaboration with cable channel Adult Swim felt energetic and alive; this comp, which includes a mix CD from J-Rocc, isn't sequenced well, squandering the verve of its selections. Quibbles? Yes, but worth pointing out when a record label of Stones Throw's caliber is making music history.
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