Stonegroove, the label which brought you fine compilations such as Raw Materials, NY State Of Rhyme 1 & 2 and 12"s like 'The Music' by Network Reps and Put Yo'Self In My Place by B-1 now brings another compilation of underground joints.
'Hip Hop From The Ground Up' boasts a variety of tracks from North American underground emcees. There are two Canadian appearances coming in the form of Kardinal Offishall's 'Mic T.H.U.G.S' and The Rascalz' 'CIV.' 'Mic T.H.U.G.S' is a nice joint which was first seen on his relatively recently released EP. The joint is produced by Kardinal himself and features some fairly simplistic rhymes, but it comes out well. 'CIV' by The Rascalz is another pretty good example of nice Canadian Hip Hop. The Rascalz drop some okay rhymes over a live Kemo beat. Another nice cut, mainly due to the beat.
The best tracks on the compilation are the first, second and last ones, those being 'Rock The Mic' by Mykill Miers, 'Universal' by Insight featuring Mr. Lif and lastly, 'Dear You' by Unspoken Heard. 'Rock The Mic,' the first track, features a dope beat by Diverse and some cool battle-esque rhymes by Mykill. It was one of the best tracks on his disappointing debut LP. Adding this, and having it as the opening track was a brilliant idea, it grabs the listener and has you wanting more.
I don't know whether you (the reader) have heard of or have seen the movie 'High Fidelity' but in it, there's references made to making premium compilations/mixtapes... how you should do it etc. It seems this compilation very much follows some of the advice from it, as the second track manages to keep your attention and take it to a higher level.
'Universal' produced and by Insight is dope. Plain and simple. Mr Lif guests upon it and over an ill beat (best played at loud volumes as per usual) they trade verses interacting with a nicely scratched up hook, also covered by Insight. The last absolute gem (there are other dope tracks, but these are the best) is 'Dear You' by Unspoken Heard. J-Rawls of Lone Catalysts fame creates a somewhat moving, very well constructed beat, and Unspoken Heard goes over it rhyming about Hip Hop. Initially it appears as if he's talking to an ex-girlfriend about being forced to choose between Hip Hop and her, but later the direction seems to sway slightly. Even so, the track is really well done, and I love listening to it.
My problems with this compilation lie with a couple of tracks, which, I know a hell of a lot of other people like, but I do not. Firstly, there's 'Blunted' by Phil The Agony. A track produced by Evidence which I would have thought would have been more exciting/interesting than it is. With rhymes like "How the fuck you do soundtracks from the wood / Without niggaz from Inglewood / But that's felonious / I'm blastin' my opponents bitch, fuck off / Y'all niggaz is fuck off's / The only thing I fuck off is time, but I'm so serious when I rhyme" my best advice would be to press the skip button on your stereo/CD player. The combination of a less than brilliant Evidence beat and a pretty wack Phil The Agony is not really what I'd call great. A lot of people disagree with me on this.
Another example of a track, which isn't as good as it could have been is 'Hyrdrophonic Sound System' by Hyrdrophonic Sound System featuring Soule, Headkrack and Cold Chris. The hook really didn't feel to fit the track and felt unnecessary thus lowering the track quality.
Basically, Stonegroove have come up with a pretty dope compilation. Other than the tracks I mentioned the majority of the others are on point. Worth checking people.