Oxmo Puccino's 1998 debut, Opéra Puccino, was produced almost entirely by DJ Mars, who evidently gleans inspiration from Pete Rock and DJ Premier. His alternately sensitive and rugged beats are a fitting backdrop for the French-language MC’s low-profile yet tense flow. “Mensongeur” is a surprising dancefloor diversion, where Puccino is pitched somewhere between Notorious B.I.G. and Mase.
The Jordanaires were an American vocal quartet that formed as a gospel group in 1948. They are known for providing background vocals for Elvis Presley, in live appearances and recordings from 1956 to 1972. The group has also worked in the recording studio, on stage, and on television with many other country and rock and roll artists - Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline, George Jones…
This 1998 release by Brazilian percussion god Dom Um Ramao marks his first solo recording in more than 30 years. Romao has been an in-demand session player since the mid-'60s and was one of the founding members of Weather Report. His own albums on the late, great Muse label, one named eponymously and the other entitled Spirit of the Times, were rhythm orgies that pasted together all of the traditions he'd worked in up until that time: from Sergio Mendes and Sinatra to Flora, Airto, and Weather Report. Rhythm Traveler is a return, of sorts, in that it is an engagement with Brazilian song forms from both folk musics and popular song, all translated through a jazzman's manner of hearing.
Greatest Hits is a strange release. Sure, Tupac Shakur had more than enough hits to make a terrific compilation, but its appearance in the fall of 1998 felt a bit like another opportunity to milk his catalog, simply because of the plethora of releases, from previously unheard recordings to interview discs and bootlegs. Even with these misgivings taken into account, it has to be said that Greatest Hits does its job well. Given that it runs 25 tracks and two CDs, some may argue that it does its job a little too well, but the fact of the matter is, this contains all of his big hits, from "Keep Ya Head Up" and "Dear Mama" to "California Love" and "I Ain't Mad at Cha." Some may argue that it would have been more effective if it was sequenced in chronological order, but this remains the best place for casual listeners to get all the 2Pac they need.