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Honoring a Housing Project That Was Home

Hip-hop has cast a light on many topics that a lot of people would rather forget. One of them is the housing project, a place that has produced many of rap’s best artists and served as the grim backdrop for some of the genre’s best moments.

One New York project, Queensbridge, has been the home of such artists as Nas, Mobb Deep and Capone-N-Noreaga, and on “QB Finest,” they and some of their neighbors praise that community with an unrelenting onslaught of top-tier, hard-core hip-hop.

The 17-cut collection is anchored by “Da Bridge 2001,” a remake of a classic MC Shan song that once spawned a rivalry with Boogie Down Productions. Nas traces his musical history and revisits his days of struggle on the reflective “Find Ya Wealth,” while Capone-N-Noreaga and Iman Thug taunt opponents on the menacing “Our Way.”

Even with this wealth of proven talent, a number of lesser-known acts make a mark. Jungle, Cormega & Poet transform N.W.A’s incendiary “Straight Outta Compton” into the equally charged “Straight Outta Q.B.,” while Bravehearts describe a sexual escapade on “Oochie Wally.”

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This album could have been trimmed a bit, but the strong performances throughout make it a must-have for hard-core hip-hop fans.

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Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.


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