Stones Throw Records began as a label for DJs, by DJs. Ten years later, more than just DJs can appreciate the Los Angeles-based hip-hop label’s music.

To commemorate its milestone, Stones Throw has released a two-disc compilation, Stones Throw: Ten Years, featuring Madlib, J Dilla and MF Doom, but there are plenty of other artists that only the most devout underground hip-hop fans will recognize. And perhaps it’s only those fans who will fully appreciate the album.

The album is littered with funky and mellow instrumentals and songs reminiscent of the early days of hip hop. This isn’t surprising since the album is a greatest hits collection, but listeners may find themselves asking, “People used to think this was good?”

But not all the tracks seem outdated. Lootpack’s “Whenimondamic” is a catchy Madlib-produced tune with a slick bass line, and “Move Pt. 2” is a thumper produced by the late Dilla featuring Oh No and Roc C.

The Stones Throw artists aren’t afraid of experimenting, and the compilation reflects the label’s forward-thinking mindset. Ten Years bubbles with creativity and originality, which is probably what Peanut Butter Wolf had in mind when he formed the label in 1996.

The second disc, however, is far less creative, pointlessly rehashing the first disc in a different order.

It’s difficult to say if Stones Throw is several steps ahead of the rest of hip hop or several steps in a different direction, but wherever it is, this is a solid collection.

Various Artists
Stones Throw: Ten Years

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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