Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Greatest Rap Hits Vol. 2 [Sugarhill, 1981]
The first volume was a charming concatenation of oddities foreshortened for long-player; this melds six terrific full-length twelve-inches, including two of the greatest singles of this or any year ("Wheels of Steel" with a boisterous new coda), into one all-time classic funk album, unified by the superb Sugarhill house band (Doug Wimbish! Doug Wimbish!) and the pervasive smarts of Grandmaster Flash & Co. In its way, rap's up-and-at-'em sex-and-money optimism is as misleading as the willful down-and-outism of L.A. punk--joke-boast tradition or no, kids who find they can't go at it till the break of dawn may not need a Darby Crash to inspire thoughts of ending it all. But the way these fast talkers put their stamp on a cultural heritage both folk and mass is the most masterful pop move to hit Communications Central since the Ramones. A