January 10, 2008

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Various Artists, Well Deep: Ten Years of Big Dada Records
Big Dada Records, Nov. 20, 2007
It’s not absolutely essential to have reams of information uploaded to your skull in order to get a handle on indie hip-hop, but over the years Big Dada has been home to the most bizarre trips and aliases in the underground. Albeit a British label, the Ninja Tune-owned company has provided workout space for stateside slam-preacher Saul Williams and MF Doom, the latter working under his Monsta Island Czars alias King Geedorah and teamed up with Mr. Fantastik in the arid, opium-den-rap classic “Anti-Matter.” It’s misleading to infer that this album actually has all ten years covered; the first release on the label (Misanthropic’s Alpha Prhyme 12”) isn’t accounted for, and the earliest nugget on board is of 1999 vintage (“Movements,” a dub-splashed tune from Dada’s bread-and-butter act Roots Manuva). Nitpicking gets us nowhere, however, in the face of all this top-drawer, easily accessible stuff. A- — E. W. S.