Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Marley Marl: In Control, Volume 1 [Cold Chillin', 1988]
Best sample: the horny blast that introduced Grandmaster Flash on "Freedom" and honors him on M.C. Shan's show rip of the same name. Lean JBeats, nasty scratches, and stolen dialogue keep the likes of Craig G. and Heavy D. moving--who knows, maybe someday they'll outdo themselves too. But like any ace producer, Marl is no better than his talent--certainly no better than Master Ace, who stands out from the crowd on the party-starting "Simon Says" (not a 1910 Fruitgum tribute) and speed-rapped "Keep Your Eye on the Prize" (and you were too cool for Channel 13). N.b.: Roxanne Shanté's "Wack Itt" is her fourth straight great one. Where the hell's her album? B+