Follow Us on Twitter

Hip Hop Forever III - Mixed by DJ Jazzy Jeff

Hip Hop Forever III, Mixed by DJ Jazzy Jeff

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

DJ Jazzy Jeff is one of the grandmasters of hip-hop, having formed DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince in 1985 with Will Smith.

Since then, they have released numerous hit singles, four Gold albums, as well as starring in their own hit TV series, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Who better then to compile the third entry into the Hip Hop Forever compilation series, one of the most critically-acclaimed hip-hop mix CDs of all time?

Yet anyone expecting a host of familiar hip-hop cuts all jostling for position with each other had better think again, for this isn’t packed with the most obvious choices.

Rather, it seeks out classic hip-hop records, some hard to find jams and the odd new favourite that might, just might, show new fans of the genre there’s more to the scene than the gangsta flashiness epitomised by the likes of 50 Cent and The Game.

Indeed, even hip hop fans might enjoy taking this journey given that it revels in its ability to consistently surprise – even if some of the choice cuts don’t register as strongly as others.

For his compilation, Jazzy Jeff has turned to big names such as Mobb Deep, A Tribe Called Quest and The Pharcyde, as well as J-Live, Phat Kat and Big L.

When it’s good, it’s really good, especially when dropping the full versions of classic cuts you may have heard sampled on other records.

But it’s slightly disappointing to find some of the more cruder elements of mainstream hip-hop finding their way into the compilation, with Redman’s Let’s Get Dirty pretty much epitomising the new sound of the genre. There are also a few too many references to whores and niggers to really impress.

So, while admiring the compilation for attempting to throw in tracks that are different, fans may lament the absence of true old-skool hip hop pioneers such as De La Soul or Jurassic 5. Their style of smooth, feel-good flow is a notable absence.

Of the highlights, however, Black Sheep’s The Choice Is Yours is the standout cut, while it’s hardly surprising to find that The Pharcyde’s Runnin’ and Jay Dee’s Fuck Da Police are both good value.

A Tribe Called Quest’s Award Tour is also a great reminder of another classic act, while it’s always good to hear Eric B & Rakim’s Eric B Is The President.

Given the indisputable quality of Jazzy Jeff himself, though, it’s slightly disappointing to find that this mix doesn’t always work as a satisfying whole – there are plenty of missed opportunities and even bad choices.

As such, it’s an acquired taste that leaves you with the feeling that it could have been a whole lot more enriching.

Track listing:

  1. Tear Shit Up – Biz Markie, Jazzy Jeff
  2. Passing Me By – The Pharcyde
  3. Whatever You Say
  4. Ijustwannachill – Large Professor
  5. Top Ten List – Masta Ace Incorporated
  6. Visualize – Mr. Complex
  7. Speed
  8. Ebonics
  9. Play Dis [Clean] – Saukrates
  10. Players – Slum Village
  11. Runnin’ – The Pharcyde
  12. Fuck the Police
  13. Eric B. Is President
  14. Droppin’ Science – Marley Marl
  15. The ? Remainz – Gang Starr
  16. Mass Appeal – Gang Starr
  17. Full Clip – Gang Starr
  18. Boom
  19. Award Tour – A Tribe Called Quest
  20. Don’t Nobody Care About Us
  21. Quiet Storm
  22. Who Got the Props – Black Moon
  23. Let’s Get Dirty (I Can’t Get in Da Club)
  24. Choice Is Yours (Revisited)
  25. Looking at the Front Door
  26. Them That’s Not