Various Artists - The Lick (Presented by Trevor Nelson)

I don't like the idea of the MOBO's, but this CD is almost a perfect crystallization of that ideal and it isn't half bad!!! Imagine if the NME Award show was called the Music Of Middle Class White Boys Awards, there would be an uproar and rightfully so - somehow the MOBO's are different. Personally I'd like to see an awards show that encompasses every musical genre imaginable - not in a Mercury Music Prize way but in a similar way that we did this year with the Designer Magazine Readers Poll (From Destiny's Child and Damage to Placebo and Muse with everything in between).

As a showcase of R&B in the year 2001 its a fair representation, a mixture of the blindingly obvious and the flava of the more underground acts. CD1 highlights include the Dre / Snoop collaboration "Still Dre" and Damage with "Ghetto Romance", but its the old skool De La Soul who truly impress with "All Good". A stop / start guitar line underpins some soulful vox courtesy of Chaka Khan. If you thought R&B was all about one night stands then think again. Jagged Edge with "Lets Get Married" talk of kids, marriage and little white fences - hey, maybe the kids are growing up. CD2 includes Destiny's Child, Ol' Dirty Bastard and Ruff Endz - R&B at its pinnacle.

Not surprisingly its the more mainstream artists that disappoint. Dodgy remixes of Craig David, Sisqo and an album track from Kelis are perhaps the only low lights of the whole compilation. If you don't like R&B then this compilation will not change your mind, but its one of the better releases in the swamped compilation market. Recommended alongside the Dre, Ruff Endz and Destiny's Child albums.

Alex McCann

Universal Music TV