AU ABROAD

Album Review: Big Village - Big Things Volume Two (2012 Compilation LP)

A compilation album is often a big move for a record label and sadly the concept is usually carried out quite poorly in hip-hop. During the 90’s and early 2000’s, American Hip-Hop often saw an established label putting together a compilation – drawing upon all the strengths (and weaknesses) of each and every artist on their respective rosters to give the fans a bundle of new material. This used to be a very successful and anticipated event, from Ruff Ryders to Bad Boy, compilations not only promoted the artist, they helped the label to grow. It’s rare to see these compilations outside of America but Australian Hip-Hop label Big Village gave it a try with Big Things Volume Two, and the project could not have worked better.

Home to some of the best and most original artists on the scene, Big Village is home to a small but very effective hip-hop family, of which includes skilled emcee Ellesquire of trio Loose Change, and the jazz-infused True Vibenation. Each of these artists remains distinctive from one another and each hold up their end of the label with unique styles of rapping, producing, and DJ’ing. The mixture of these different styles is the key element in Big Things Vol. 2 and makes for one of the best hip-hop releases of the year (and not just within Australian hip-hop).

The whole family are given an excellent production to flow over on ‘This is that,’ a posse cut which displays the world class rapping that places Big Village as one of the more exciting things on the scene.

Reverse Polarities get playful on ‘Big’; Ellesquire raps circles around a rock-laced hip-hop beat on ‘Nether Regions’; Loose Change bring the classic hip-hop on ‘Ode to the Beatmaker’ (undoubtedly the album’s highlight); and Verbaleyes and Mute jazz it up on 'Lingua Franca.' The highlights of this compilation are numerous and spread throughout the 14-track LP.

The range of styles widens with the 808-heavy southern hip-hop sound of 'Murda' and album-closer 'Vertigo,' bringing a dubstep-laced beat. It's not hard to tell that every artist on the Big Village roster has perfected their craft, whether it be beat-making, rapping, or DJ'ing.

This is one of those compilations which inspires you to check out the entire back catalogue of the Big Village roster, and that is exactly what a label-based compilation should do. Between the socially conscious topics, the braggadocios rhyme-fests, and the dope beats Big Things Volume Two is something you need to hear.

Review Score: 9.6 out of 10