These days, if you were caught singing, "How many dudes you know roll like this ... not many, if any", in public, you might get looked at strangely and branded "so 2003".

Still, if you care to let rip with those rhymes in the privacy of your lounge, then you will find Scribe's chest-beating party anthem, Not Many (The Remix), still fires even the most meek and mild mortal up into a hardcore rapper.

The same can also be said for Stand Up, which will get you "ready rock, ready roll ... y'all ready to flow". Those two songs put New Zealand hip-hop label Dirty Records, formed in 2001 by DJ and producer P-Money (real name Peter Wadams) and Callum August on the map back in the early 2000s. This 21-track collection charts the decade-long reign of the label whose small but solid stable of artists is made up of P-Money, Scribe, Frontline, PNC, and David Dallas.

The earliest tracks here are Scribe's first call to arms Scribe 2001 ("my stories just begun, huh, you never hung in the streets where I'm from.") and the eerie yet soulful stomp of Synchronize Thoughts off P-Money's Big Things album. And along with the hits from Scribe's debut album The Crusader (produced by P-Money), they still sound fresh and familiar in much the same way that How Bizarre or Poi E do.


What tends to date some of the tracks these days are lyrical references like "got plans to take over Japan like the D4"; lucky The Theme From the Crusader with lines like "I'm running things like Robbie Deans, I got a champion team", is not included here because the Crusaders (thankfully) are not the rugby force they once were.

Following the chart domination of Scribe, and his fade into obscurity following his second album Rhyme Book (off which the blazing and brassy hip-hop soul show tune Say It Again with Tyra Hammond is featured here), the Dirty mantle has been carried by David Dallas (one half of Frontline) and prolific Palmerston North-born rapper PNC, who has released a constant stream of albums since 2006. PNC's sinister, Fat Freddys Drop-sample driven track Murderer and the resolute electro hip-hop soul of Find Me (with Chong Nee) from 2009's Bazooka Kid, are among the best tracks here.

And of course P-Money has chipped in too, especially with his unashamed club pop hit Everything (with Vince Harder) from 2008.

But it's Dallas who is the Dirty superstar these days. The effortless confidence and poise that comes through on a song like Take a Picture, and the silky stealth groove of Caught In a Daze (both from his excellent 2011 album The Rose Tint), proves this guy is making timeless music that's here to stay. Then again, most of Dirty's older tracks still stand up too.

Stars: 4/5
Verdict: Happy birthday