This is one of several recent hip-hop construction-kit libraries from Big Fish Audio. I looked at WAV files in Sony Acid Pro 5 and, as well as the 19 construction kits, there were two additional folders containing some extra drum loops (33 in total) and some individual samples for three drum kits. Usefully, the folder name for each of the construction kits gives information on both the original tempo (all between 80-100bpm) and key.
In general, each of the construction kits contains between 10 and 20 individual samples. Some of these are loops - drums, bass, and synths for example - while others are one-shot samples. The latter might be hi-hat, kick, snare, and clap hits, for example, so you can indulge in a little DIY if you need to add a little variety to the drum loops. Each construction kit includes a complete mix based upon the loops within it, so it is easy to audition the materials and get a feel for what might be possible. Most of the kits here revolve around one or two complete drum loops, a single bass loop, and two or three synth loops, although some of the synth loops are a few bars long so they could easily be chopped up for a little further variation. Aside from the individual drum and percussion hits, the other files within the kits also include the occasional piano, vocal, or special-effect sample.
While hip-hop can be a fairly minimalist musical form, in use I perhaps wouldn't have minded just a few more choices within each construction kit - even if it had been just in terms of drum and bass loops. This said, the quality of what is provided is very good indeed and, as the pre-mixed demo loops show, we're on solidly commercial territory. In terms of specific style, while there are some quite melodic things going on here, this is all pretty serious stuff - much more Ms Dynamite and 50 Cent than Eminem or Goldie Lookin' Chain. Of course, the best way to use a construction-kit library is as kick-start to a composition that is then developed with other samples or new recordings, and it would be easy enough to start from Hip-Hop High and move in a number of different directions. With due care and attention to pitch, it also proved easy enough to mix and match between the different construction kits.
There are a large number of hip-hop loop libraries in the marketplace, and I'm not sure Hip-Hop High brings anything radically new to the table. Aside from wishing for a little more variety within each kit, my only other comment for potential purchasers would be that, like many other Big Fish Audio libraries, the license does not permit the samples to be used within a library/production-music context. The quality of what is provided is, however, pretty good, and at this UK price the library in unlikely to burn too big a hole in anybody's pocket. John Walden