Rawkus was best known originally for being the hottest independent label around. They were responsible for delivering Mos Def and Kweli to the world, as well as Company Flow and many others. Various complications and sales increases took the label to higher heights. They hooked up larger distribution deals, and their mentality seemed to change slightly to embrace a more mainstream clientele of artists. 'Lyricist Lounge' volume 2 shocked a lot of Rawkus fans when they witnessed the likes of JT Money, Erick Sermon and Macy Gray on the compilation. The problem wasn't with the material that they supplied but with what has commonly become the "backpacker" mentality.
With 'Soundbombing 3,' the third, and most "mainstream" release within the series. Rawkus have assembled a nice assortment of artists that they've supported from the beginning along with a few very well known names. Mixed by Cipha Sounds and Mr. Choc, the compilation begins with the successful Styles P/Pharoahe Monch collaboration 'My Life.' Mos Def and his rock group; Black Jack Johnson help provide an energetic contribution to the album with 'Freak Daddy,' which is without a doubt one of my favourite tracks on 'Soundbombing 3.'
The content is fairly diverse. There's the lighthearted reminiscing from R.A. The Rugged Man on 'On The Block' (which didn't really do much for me with its plain form). A funky, jazzed up vibe present on Q-Tip's 'What Lies Beneath' and Jonell's 'Round and Round (Remix)' provides a relaxed discussion on relationship related arguments.
The DJ'ing here isn't exactly the most prominent element of this release. But, the smooth track transitions do provide a nice feeling of continuation. Unfortunately, as a whole I wasn't overwhelmed by any of the tracks here. The Beatnuts' contribution didn't do much for me at all, I wasn't particularly amused by it. The Kweli/Quik collabo I don't think worked too well. Kweli doesn't sound right over this Quik vibe. And, 'Spit Again' by the Cocoa Brovaz also left me unimpressed.
What annoyed me was the need to dwell on the stigma attached to Rawkus' success and transition within a skit. A customer phones up a store and discusses how Cipha Sounds (who is known for his affiliation with Funkmaster Flex) "came from the underground." Honestly, I don't really care.
In essence, 'Soundbombing 3' is the latest and worst installment in the series. If you don't own either of the first two, I'd strongly recommend purchasing those before even considering this.