As silly as the short-lived ’90s concept of psychedelic rap sounds now — and as silly as pictures of gargantuan hippie rapper Prince Be look now — there’s no denying the gliding beauty of the best of The Best of P.M. Dawn (in stores June 20). A footnote in these hardcore days, this New Jersey duo aimed for a beat-driven spirituality, and they nailed it more often than not.
Little in contemporary hip-hop can match the succulent splendor of ”The Ways of the Wind” and ”Set Adrift on Memory Bliss.” Even if their later attempts at harder grooves didn’t always work, P.M. Dawn were the missing link between Johnny Mathis and Jay-Z. It’s hard to imagine many current rappers throwing themselves into syncopated love songs with titles like ”Sometimes I Miss You So Much.” The album is enough to make anyone long for the ’90s.