Medeski Martin & Wood: Start-Stop (DJ Logic Remix)

Following the release of their 1998 album Combustication, jazz trio MMW enlisted the help of their friends to remix some of its songs for this EP. DJ Logic's remix adds some hypnotizing drums to the atmospheric keyboard of Medeski, which creates a sweltering mix of hip-hop, jazz and psychedelia. Wood's bass groove gives this remix all the right ingredients needed to succeed.

August 08, 2008 · 0 comments

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Madlib: Footprints

On this album, California-based producer Madlib opened up the Blue Note vaults and produced his most well-respected album to date. Along with Yesterday's New Quintet, they recorded Wayne Shorter's "Footprints" for an audience that otherwise might not have heard it. Ahmad Miller, one of Madlib's various aliases, showcases his diversity and skills on vibes, which are only matched by his skills behind the boards. A must-have for any fan of jazz and hip-hop.

August 08, 2008 · 0 comments

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Us3: Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)

Growing up in the early 1990s as a teenager meant several things. One of them being that you knew this song. The brain children behind this group, Simpson and Wilkinson, sampled Herbie Hancock's "Cantaloupe Island" and ended up with one of the biggest hits of the '90s. Along with Powell's raps, this song eventually went gold and ended up being one of the strongest selling Blue Note albums ever. Lifted straight from Hancock's record, the feel of his 1960s original was transplanted to dance floors all across the world through this song.

August 08, 2008 · 0 comments

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Miles Davis: Fat Time

Miles and company deliver a stellar performance. Al Foster's drumbeat is almost MPC-like as he keeps up a steady, bright crack on his snare. Miller's bassline provides Davis and Evans the perfect funk groove to solo over. In its simplicity, with only a 2-chord vamp, this song planted the seed for what would be heard later in hip hop.

August 08, 2008 · 0 comments

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Gang Starr: Manifest

On this recording, MC Guru (aka Baldhead Slick) and DJ Premier flip Dizzy Gillespie's "A Night in Tunisia" into one of the most memorable songs to come out of New York in the early 1990s. This was one of the first uses of a bebop sample, and Guru wastes no time spilling his conscientious metaphor-driven rap over it. This record officially put Gang Starr (aka Gangstarr) on the radar.

August 08, 2008 · 0 comments

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A Tribe Called Quest: Verses From the Abstract

Very few hip-hop acts crossed over like Saint Albans, Queens' ATCQ. Armed with lyrics, wittiness and spot-on deliveries, the duo of Q-Tip and Phife Dog rip up this swinging hip-hop beat. With the aid of Ron Carter, the bass is an added gem to a song and an album that many consider to be one of the finest ever produced in hip-hop music.

August 08, 2008 · 0 comments

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Herbie Hancock: Rockit

It might be safe to say that pianist Herbie Hancock has the most open ears of any jazz musician. He has reinvented himself stylistically many times throughout his career. In 1983, with its skeleton-inspired video, "Rockit" took off from left field and ended up becoming one of the biggest songs of the 1980s. Featured beside Hancock's catchy synthesizer melody is the scratch work by Grand Mixer DST. This marked one of the first times a popular song had utilized DJ scratching, and the song still screams 1980s when you hear it today.

August 07, 2008 · 0 comments

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Miles Davis: The Doo-Bop Song

Miles Davis, jazz's most prolific experimenter, collaborated with hip-hop producer Easy Mo Bee for what became the trumpeter's last album. Davis injects his cool, muted sound throughout the song, which is orchestrated over a familiar piano riff. The only downside to this song is that the rapping halfway through kind of dampens the mood; but still this record proves why Davis could float between musical styles like it was no one's business.

August 07, 2008 · 0 comments

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Digable Planets: Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)

In 1994 it was impossible to get away from this song. The opening bassline is as recognizable and jazzy as anything that came out during the early '90s. Butterfly and company ride the beat with smooth lyrics and a relaxed flow, creating a hypnotizing groove that swung pretty hard for a hip-hop group. The single was a Top 20 hit in 1994 and went on to win the group their first Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Group or Duo.

August 07, 2008 · 0 comments

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Guru: Loungin'

MC Guru (aka G.U.R.U., a backronym for Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal), has always rapped about jazz. From his Gang Starr collaborations with DJ Premier, the rapper evolved and began 1993 with his first release, Jazzmatazz. Nothing special here, but Donald Byrd's trumpet notes help to spice up the usual formula of verse-chorus-verse-chorus. This record is a good and necessary listen for anyone wanting to learn more about jazz and hip-hop recordings.

August 07, 2008 · 0 comments

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Bob James: Nautilus

Though this track predates its hip-hop usage, Bob James's "Nautilus" became one of the most sampled tracks in hip-hop history. James's looped Rhodes and catchy A-minor bassline provide the main basis for the head and the solo section. Such hip-hop artists as Wu Tang Clan's Ghostface Killa, Rakim, and DJ Shadow sampled this song and ensured that James's funk would be heard by generations of other listeners.

August 07, 2008 · 0 comments

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Buckshot Lefonque: Breakfast @ Denny's

With the hip-hop jazz scene in full explosion, Branford Marsalis teams forces with Gangstarr's DJ Premier to create one of the quintessential recordings of the early 1990s. Marsalis provides a bluesy 2-bar lick over a head-banging bassline while DJ Premier scratches in voices and sound bites. Overall, this single represents a nice merger between early '90s boom-bap and jazzy undertones.

August 07, 2008 · 0 comments

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