Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hip Hop Jazz: Does it Assist or should it Desist?

I've been reading a debate over at about Jazz and Hip Hop. Alan Kurtz recently wrote this article bashing everything Jared Pauley recently wrote good reviews for.

Now, some of it I agree with, and some could be made by Soulja Boy for all I can tell. Let's go on a track by track basis. (Here's an iMix of all songs mentioned: iTunes iMix
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Hip hop (not rap) is something I have some respect for. For those of you that haven't read the blog before, I am a big fan of my own genre of Jazz-Based Sampledelic Groove Funk. Basically, this encompasses hiphop and electronica that grooves constantly, is funky, and has lots of jazz samples. So let's go ahead and look at the songs.

First they discuss "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)" by US3 a song sampling Cantaloupe Island and digging into the Blue Note vaults for anything else. It had huge crossover success when it was released (1993?).

My verdict: Mr. Kurtz. The beat isn't very strong at all, the rapper's voice is icky, and the rap is terrible. There were four 5 and 4 star reviews of the song in iTunes, and I looked at the reviewers and one listened to Kate Perry, the other to disco and electronica, the third to Eminem, and lastly one who put 1 star reviews on Flo Rida and told them to go check out Cantaloop.

Yeah..... not a jazz tune.

Then he bashes Miles Davis' "The Doo-Bop Song" a collaboration with Easy Mo-Bee from the album Doo-Bop. The whole album is hiphop jams with Miles going over it.

Verdict: HIPHOP!!!! I actually really like The Doo-Bop Song and the whole album! The beat is stylish, Miles' playing is beautiful and melodic, and the rap is decent. In fact I really like "Chocolate Chip" and "Height Speed Chase" from the album too.

Not to mention Herbie Hancock's successful similar venture, "Dis is Da Drum" with him, Hubert Laws, Wallace Roney, Bennie Maupin, Wah Wah Watson, Bill Summers, and of course the hip hop producers. It was genious. Just check the title track.

In fact, Kurtz misses some important jazz/hiphop tunes.

"Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)" by The Digable Planets which I think is the freshest, chill-est, most bound-to-have-you-make-up-words-to-describe-it jam ever. It throws props to Miles over a spacious beat and bassline with horn samples. Plus the raps are PURE genius.

And in my first ever post on this blog, I reviewed a Miles Davis compilation: Evolution of the Groove, in which NAS spits ryhmes over Freedom Jazz Dance.

And it was tight.

So, sorry Mr. Kurtz, I have to go with Hip Hop on this one. And everyone reading: check all the tracks to see what i mean. Here's an iMix of all the songs mentioned: iTunes iMix

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