In the debate over art versus commerce, there’s a valid discussion to be had about the presented format of the music. For me, the echelon of chosen mediums for creative output goes something like this: first, the LP is still numero uno (by way of the full-length’s potential to shape an entire artists platform on one neat manifesto, invested with liner notes and cover art); next would perhaps be the album’s MP3 format, or any other digital transfers (if the Fat Money can’t hold it in his hands, it ain’t as goodâ€”yep, this head’s a dinosaur); coming in a close tie for last with the promo single (2 songs: radio edit and instrumental versions of a lame club exercise), is the sampler CD, a product based solelyâ€”by the looks of itâ€”on commerce and commercialism rather than creative vision or artistic drive. Haters want disposable arts? Look no further than “Rap Snibblets” and its ilk, a product that may be satisfying on some levels but ultimately amounts to a glorified commercial.
So, the highlights of a CD sampler include: the ability to easily (and cheaply, I hope) discover new and exciting artists that one would never have otherwise been able to hear, the chance to, and the possibility of, maybe finding a one-in-a-100 sampler that’s also a dope mix for a party or laying in the cut.
Obvious negatives: the songs [all 59 (!) of them] all cut off way short, usually after the first 16 bars and a hook. So tracks that boast formidable line-ups (like “Evolution is Outdated,” featuring DJ Vadim, Blueprint, and Illogic, among others) are hardly experienced, rather than simply tasted. There’s no cohesion (major artists from all coasts are scattered in with local Detroit artists and Long Range’s horrorcore contingency). And finally, it’s guaranteed to be a hit-and-miss affair. Even if there’re 30 (edited) bangers, there’ll still be about 20 duds. So samplers beware: enter at your own risk (and bring a hyped attention span).
So how does “Snibblets” stack up in the police line-up of its despicable contemporaries? Not too badly. This is to say that it’s actually an enjoyable listen with multiple replay potential. The heavy hitters never disappoint, while the rookie talent comes correct more often than not. With 59 tracks to choose from, while you may have to wear out the fast-forward button a little, there’s bound to be something you’ll like. It’d probably be great for new rap listeners as well as stale veterans looking to find a new favorite MC. Here’s hoping these were (are) being given out free as promos. God knows I love the art, but please keep it that way. Get on the side of me, the Roots, and Masta Aceâ€”cop the sampler, pick two of your favorite tracks, then peep the official releases. Do you remember where you were when “Illmatic” (or “The Chronic,” “Criminal Minded,” etc.) dropped?