DJ Compilations, What For?

Hip-hop is such a trend machine. Here's one that really annoys me: the mix-tape compilation starring a New York DJ. Def Jam released DJ Clue's The Professional in 1998. Last year, the label released Funkmaster Flex Big Kap's The Tunnel. These were albums compiled and mixed by the DJs. They featured Dr. Dre, Jay-Z and other artists of that magnitude.

Now comes Tony Touch's The Piece Maker, from Tommy Boy. Now, it's not a bad album. Any album with Gang Starr, Cypress Hill and Big Punisher has at least some merit — Gang Starr is featured on the album’s title track. But I'm struck with the feeling that this album and the other DJ compilations are so unnecessary.

A common complaint from artists about major-label hip-hop is how it often seems to put marketing ahead of integrity, restraint, artistic merit or what have you. I've heard the term "pimpin'" to describe this. That's how I feel here. Tony Touch is a talented DJ, but who really was asking for a Tony Touch album? It just conjures up a photo of a merchant on the corner, selling "the world's ripest tomato." As I would tell that guy, keep it to yourself!