If it's good enough for Beastie Boys' Mike D., then it's good enough for me; but Mike D.'s shout out to this record label's founders isn't the only reason California Soul 2 is a necessity for fresh and veteran soul ears. Regardless of prior interest in soul and funk, California Soul 2 sets a new precedent for a compilation done right as it brings rare access to West Coast jazz, blues, soul and heavy funk from 1966 to 1982.

Released by a label formed by two DJs in love with each other and a dream to start a record company, Jody and Michael sold their belongings and moved to San Francisco to found Groove Merchant. With only $1,000 and an unprecedented reputation for stocking new sounds and rare beats, Luv N' Haight, the record label, was born.

Soul 2 is this label's way of paying homage to those artists that collaborated with the likes of George Clinton and War, but still maintained vibrancy and forward creativity in the underground scene between L.A. and San Francisco. With founders' favorite Darondo performing “Such a Night” and Spanky Wilson's piano heavy electronic “Fancy,” the names on the CD may not all sound familiar, but the subtle, unmistakable flutter in your chest and overwhelming urge to soul clap will make you feel right at home in a place you may never have been before.

Grade: A-