Ever heard of the "new construction blues"? It's like you buy a newly constructed home because it looks great and feels warm, and no one's lived there previously. But you're moving in while the foundation is settling. This means the house will eventually come loose at the seams a bit. You still love the place, yet you can't help but notice those small cracks that have formed in your tile and drywall.
Compilation albums basically have the same issue, and The Funky Precedent does not escape the "underground sound blues." The project brings together artists from both coasts and in between to present an eclectic, subterranean blend of hip hop, Latin, folk and pit-stank funk. Precedent has its share of sure-shots. Dilated Peoples' acknowledgment of third eye vision sets it off nicely with "Triple Optics." ("Put out one of my eyes and I still got two/Put out the second one and I could still see you/It's Triple Optics.") Other bangers come courtesy of Black Eyed Peas, Divine Styler and Jurassic 5. But the one cut that deserves to be heard is Damon Aaron's melodramatic reflection on life in the urban, "To the Outside."
Overall, this is an ambitious effort to lift the voice of nonmainstream artists' music and messages. About 2/3 of it moves mountains and bunny hills. The rest immobilizes everything but the screw-face and the fast-forward finger. It's a B-minus with heart.
Khary Kimani Turner writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.