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Guru's Jazzmatazz: The Mixtape - Back To The Future

Guru's Jazzmatazz: The Mixtape - Back To The Future

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

GURU’s Jazzmatazz Back To The Future mix CD is described as the “raw” companion to the Jazzmatazz Vol. 4 album. It’s been carefully crafted by super-producer Solar to exhibit that “Golden Era” New York essence along with a cutting edge futuristic twist!

The tracks are being hailed as “pure bangers” and the guest appearances are designed to compliment Guru’s iconic yet streetwise vocals. There are features from artists such as Common, Damian Marley, Aceyalone and Zion I from the West Coast, Blue Scholars from Seattle, Mr Lif from Boston, Yungun from London, as well as legends Lord Tariq from the Bronx.

And there’s certainly a hip vibe surrounding many of the tracks, which hark back to ’70s Harlem or the Bronx, and which Jay-Z recently tapped into on his American Gangster soundtrack. Opener Knowledge is a classic starting point, a funky hip shuffler that’s built around some sharp stabs of brass, a rapid bassline and a smooth flow from Lord Tariq.

Solar acquits himself well over the top of a kick-ass backbeat and some hammond organ on 7 Grand Yall, while there’s more retro riffs running throughout the hard-hitting tale of social depravation and decay that is For Ya Mind featuring a tell-it-like-it-is rap from Zion I.

Further highlights come from the jazzy State of Clarity featuring Common, the upbeat workout that is B-Boy Kamikaze, and the Jurassic 5-flavoured So What It Do Now?, featuring Aceyalone.
Damian Marley adds some dancehall and reggae vibes to the impressive Stand Up (Some Things’ll Never Change), while the horns return to sassy effect all over Hot Like That, with Medinah.

The album loses its way slightly towards the end of its 20 tracks, with many of the tracks falling into pretty generic patterns or failing to recapture the high standards of its very best selections, but the Solar remix of Feed The Hungry combines more hard-hitting social commentary with a laidback beat and some sultry sax, and album closer Can’t Stop The Movement (7 Grand), featuring Ms Camille, is an upbeat, even breezy, finale that should leave you in a very good mood (if not reflective of a bygone hip-hop era). The flute work is particularly endearing, as is Ms Camille’s deliciously sweet chorus.

The lasting feeling, therefore, is that Back To The Future ticks most of the right boxes and emerges as an excellent addition to the Jazzmatazz series that really does serve as an excellent reminder of just how good hip hop can be if you’re looking away from the more obvious mainstream.

Download picks: State Of Clarity, For Ya Mind, Can’t Stop The Movement, Stand Up (Some Things’ll Never Change), So What It Do Now?, B-Boy Kamikaze

Track listing:

  1. Intro – Don Gurizzy
  2. Knowledge – Feat. Lord Tariq
  3. 7 Grand Yall – Feat. Solar
  4. For Ya Mind – Feat. Zion I
  5. Peace! – Feat. K-Born, Highpower & Solar
  6. State Of Clarity – Feat. Common [Solar Remix]
  7. Who Got It On Lock? – Feat. Doo Wop
  8. B-Boy Kamikaze – Feat. Tony Touch & Doo Wop (Diaz Brothers
  9. Too Slick – Feat. Yungun
  10. So What It Do Now? – Feat. Aceyalone
  11. We Got That – Feat. Nature & Solar
  12. Jazzy Wayz [7 Grand Exclusive]
  13. Stand Up (Some Things’ll Never Change) – Feat. Damian Marley [Reggae Mix]
  14. Hot Like That – Feat. Medinah
  15. No Need For Stress – Feat. Mr. Lif
  16. Back To The Future – Feat. Caron Wheeler & C.Knowledge (Digable Planets)
  17. Assasino – Feat. Young Pablo
  18. The Game Needs Me – Feat. Blue Scholars & Common Market
  19. Feed The Hungry
  20. Can’t Stop The Movement – Feat. Ms Camille
  21. Solar Remix

  1. Medinah is a really good female MC from Philly ! Check for her new album “Beyond Reazon”. Guru is super nice as usual.

    Ck. medinah’s myspace

    Shay    Jan 15    #