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DJ Jazzy Jeff - The Magnificent

Album Facts

Original Release Date: August 13, 2002

Singles

For Da Love of Da Game
How I Do
Break it Down
My People
In Time
Rock Wit U

Music Videos

Rock Wit U

Tracklisting

  • Da Ntro feat. Pauly Yamz & Baby Blak
  • Shake It Off feat. Chef Word
  • For Da Love of Da Game feat. Baby Blak & Pauly Yamz
  • Break It Down feat. J-Live
  • How I Do feat. Shawn Stockman & Cy Young
  • Worldwide feat. Baby Blak & Pauly Yamz
  • Musik Lounge feat. Oddisee
  • Rock Wit U feat. Erro
  • Travelz feat Baby Blak & Crushall
  • Scram feat. Freddie Foxxx
  • My Peoples feat. Raheem
  • Know Ur Hood feat. Chef Word & Pauly Yamz
  • Love Saviour feat. Flo Brown & Raheem
  • Mystery Man feat. The Last Emperor
  • We Are feat. Cy Young & Raheem
  • Charmed Life feat. J-Live
  • We Live In Philly feat. Jill Scott

DJ Jazzy Jeff's first solo album featured a variety of artists from A Touch of Jazz with music ranging from jazz, hip-hop, RnB to House, and of course featuring Jeff's trademark scratches.

Album Reviews

Producer-driven albums can go both ways in terms of overall quality but they almost always have good beats. "The Magnificent" is not only a diverse album featuring underground hip hop along with house music, R&B and spoken word poetry, but it is his way to step out of the shadow of Will Smith. Will Smith is nowhere to be found on "The Magnificent" and to me, that's a plus. Jeff's production company A Touch Of Jazz produces the whole album. As every track is produced very well, the guest vocalists not only add diversity to themes and styles but affect the variety of quality.
Diversity is the key element to this album. The majority of the tracks are hip hop songs with underground emcees and sung hooks. The only somewhat well-known guests on this project are Freddie Foxxx, Jill Scott, Last Emperor, Shawn Stockmen (from Boyz II Men), and the incredible J-Live. A majority of the guests are unknown underground artists like Pauly Yamz, Baby Blak and Raheim. The hunger is evident and their styles and lyrics do prevail on most songs.

Since it is a Jazzy Jeff record, do not expect topics of gun-toting, weed smoking, or jewelry. The title track featuring Pauly Yamz & Baby Blak is an ode to the DJ. Using the same melodic loop from "Butta" by A Tribe Called Quest. The track is basically a theme song for Jeff. Of course, the turntable wizardry is impeccable! Pauly Yamz and Baby Blak have 2 more songs together. The first single "For The Love Of The Game" is a very radio-friendly feel-good track with a sung hook that has some dope scratching in the background. It's basically a song about the love for hip hop that uses a very cool jazzy guitar sample. It's one of the strongest cuts with the unknown emcees besides the title track. Other themes include black pride, the love of music, romance, Philadelphia, and stress.

The underground emcees make up a large part of the album. "Shake It Off" featuring Chef is a somewhat silly but very catchy tune. The two romantic tracks use music to inspire and delight. "Rock With You" featuring Eric Robertson and "Love Savior" featuring Flo Brown and Rahiem are decent tracks that have strong romantic themes. "Know Your Hood" featuring Pauly Yamz & Chef uses a cool piano sample and paints a vivid picture of ghetto lifestyles. The rhymes are hardcore and so is the half-sung/half-chanted hook. "Musik Lounge" featuring Odyssey is a nice, mellow track about the power of music and relaxation. It creates a very chilled out atmosphere.

J-Live is the shining star emcee on the LP. "A Charmed Life" is also on J-Live's album "All Of The Above." It's an excellent auto-biographical track which has upright bass lines, jazzy symbol rhythms and nice jazzy vibed melodies. The true gem is "Break It Down." J-Live is incredible on this track. Every verse demands your attention as his energy and delivery is superb. The up-tempo beat bounces along with a wise and somewhat cartoon-like melody as Jeff adds some incredible scratching. It truly is the best track on the LP.

Other more not-so-well-known (but well respected) emcees stand out the most on the album. Freddie Foxx gives a hungry performance on "Scram," and The Last Emperor gives his usually great performance on "Mystery Man."

The R&B aspects drag the album down. "My People" featuring Raheim is an interesting listen since it deals with the power and strength that black people have endured generation after generation. Other songs like "We Are" featuring Cy Young and Raheim are filler tracks. Even though they're produced well, they do not command the attention like the other tracks.

There are a couple of odd but cool standout tracks that add to the albums diversity. "We Live In Philly" featuring Jill Scott is a remake of Roy Ayers' "We Live In Brooklyn." Here, Jill Scott does a spoken word (somewhat freestyled) dream sequence of famous and not-so famous Philadelphia trademarks. Places and people are dropped into the mix. Julius Irving, Miss Jackie, Steady B, Patty LaBelle, Schooly D, and Allen Iverson are only a few of the many names mentioned. How can you not like a song where Joe Frazier pops out of a closet and kicks Rocky's ass? The beat has cool handclaps in the rhythm along with funked out orchestra-melodies and organs. If you are only familiar with Jill Scott's singing, you may not even recognize her. It is an enjoyable song for people who have lived in or visited Philadelphia. "In Time" featuring V is a very inspirational and uplifting deep house track. Here is where the singing truly works. The singing and the music is very uplifting and so are the sentiments of the song.

Overall, DJ Jazzy Jeff's album is a fun summertime album. The production rules the LP. Every single song is produced with intensity and a love for music. The rhythms are diverse and complicated. While most tracks have that "Jazzy feel," the beats are hard enough to please hardcore hip hop lovers but they are not rough. There is a glossy feel to the beats which give this album a more commercial vibe. The underground emcees do bring a lyrical credibility to the album in many ways. There is not one bad beat on the album, Jeff's performances on the turntables are incredible too. He is not only a great producer but a turntable wizard. Unfortunately, an album is not just production, scratching and beats. While the diversity gives the LP a smooth flow, the abundant amount of singing drags it down in some parts. Even though the singing is supposed to give a balance to the hardcore emcees, it does not work on some songs. One thing I love about this album is the love and appreciation for the hip-hop DJ. If you like light but intelligent hip hop with jazz-influences and some genre-exploring songs, this is for you. As DJ Jazzy Jeff said, "This is for people who love good music."

- NewJeruPoet

The Magnificent is the long awaited debut solo album from legendary turntablist DJ Jazzy Jeff. Following the outstanding single ‘For Da Love Of Da Game’ released last month ‘The Magnificent’ album is bound to cause a sensation.

Featuring: Jill Scott, Shawn Stockman, Freddie Foxxx, Baby Blak, Pauly Yamz, Erro, J-Live, Flo Brown, Chef Word, Oddisee, Cy Young, Crushall, Soul 1, The Last Emperor, Raheem, V, and ?uestlove

"Best volume yet in the Beat Generation series so far…****" - Vibe

"The trademark ATOJ sound is there, but instead of just being applied to R&B, it is also top-notch underground Hip Hop" - The Source

"The fresh King is back" - Blues and Soul

Playlouder 3 and a half stars

Before No Limit, before Death Row, before Rap-A-Lot there came Schoolly D, Roxanne Shante, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince making Philadelphia the first scene outside New York to gain a national US audience. Schoolly was the proto-gangsta, Will Smith, hip-hop's first suburban icon and Jazzy Jeff the improbably gifted DJ who quietly became one of hip-hop's biggest-ever earners.

'The Magnificent' largely sidelines Jeff's considerable turntablist skills preferring to showcase the talents of his A Touch Of Jazz production company. The influence of Philly soul seeps into 'Rock Wit U' and 'How I Do' and while Will Smith don't gotta cuss in his raps you try telling Freddie Foxxx to tone it down - he'll straight rag on your sorry ass like he does with the phoney gangstas on 'Scram'. And if you're a sucker for acoustic bass and the swish of the drum brush you'll totally dig the jazz motif on 'A Charmed Life' featuring J-Live eccentrically claiming "I learned patience from making models in the basement". That's knowledge, dog.

Jill Scott eases into spoken-word territory taking Roy Ayers' 'We Live In Brooklyn' and relocating it in downtown Philly where she has Joe Frazier kicking Rocky's ass. It's that kind of kooky, offbeat vibe that prevails. This is the scratch king's redefinition of summer madness.

James Donaghy

all music.com 4 stars out of five

It's easy to consider DJ Jazzy Jeff an old-school head, by simple virtue of his not being very active in the rap mainstream during the past ten years — unlike the former Fresh Prince. Granted his first solo shot by BBE (the British beat ambassadors responsible for great hip-hop mixes by Pete Rock and Kenny Dope, among others), Jeff keeps it hometown, inviting a wealth of Philly names, including Shawn Stockman (from Boyz II Men), Jill Scott, and, for four tracks, Pauly Yamz and Baby Blak. And just like some of his classic hits with Will Smith, The Magnificent comes very correct, with beatbox breaks; jazzy guitar and keys; lots of vocal harmonies on the choruses; and the sub-frequency, almost percussive bass lines often heard on later A Tribe Called Quest LPs. For the most part, Jeff keeps to the background — every track here has a featured vocalist — though Pauly Yamz and Baby Blak sing his praises on the title-track opener, and J-Live gives him plenty of room for scratching on the spectacular "Break It Down." It's hard to say how long DJ Jazzy Jeff took making these tracks, though The Magnificent has an incredible range; Jeff does it all well, even when moving from soulful R&B ("Rock Wit U" with Eric Roberson) to basement hip-hop on the very next track ("Scram" with Freddie Foxxx). Those who can make it to the end — admittedly, 17 tracks are a lot to deal with — get treated to a fun Roy Ayers redo, "We Live in Philly," with Jill Scott playfully stretching out on a dream-time vocal performance that references plenty of Philadelphia landmarks, along with a range of Philly celebrities: Dr. J, Pooh Richardson, Maurice Cheeks, Schooly D., Frankie Beverly, and Patti LaBelle among others. — John Bush

The Fader
The record tracks an arc from the kind of hip-hop that will go down well at Fat Beats -- intellectual rather than clubby, with MCs like J-Live and Last Emperor -- to soul, with a touch of the jazzy house that all soul DJs seem to have a secret passion for. In particular, there's a remake of Roy Ayers' "We Live in Brooklyn, Baby," voiced by Jill Scott and of course called "We Live in Philly." Ishmail Sadiq

EW
B+
The Magnificent
Reviewed by Raymond Fiore


Jeff Townes' legacy might have been a footnote in Will Smith's hip-hop history were it not for A Touch of Jazz, his production house, which resurrected Philly soul with Jill Scott and Musiq. On his Quincy Jones-ish debut, featuring star turns by rapper J-Live and crooner Raheem, Jeff forsakes innovation for another nourishing meal of rim shot and Rhodes. These sublimely fluid grooves have heart, and musically speaking, that's more than you can say for Big Willie.
(Posted:08/16/02)

Freddie Foxxx). Those who can make it to the end — admittedly, 17 tracks are a lot to deal with — get treated to a fun Roy Ayers redo, "We Live in Philly," with Jill Scott playfully stretching out on a dream-time vocal performance that references plenty of Philadelphia landmarks, along with a range of Philly celebrities: Dr. J, Pooh Richardson, Maurice Cheeks, Schooly D., Frankie Beverly, and Patti LaBelle among others. — John Bush


Hiphopsite.com

DJ Jazzy Jeff "The Magnificent" - BBE / Beat Generation @@@@
East Coast; Producer Compilation; Progressive

By now most of you would have been aware of The Beat Generation Series, with already released albums by producers such as Pete Rock (Petestrumentals), Jay Dee (Welcome 2 Detroit), Marley Marl (Re-Entry), Will.I.Am (Lost Change) and others. Up next, DJ Jazzy Jeff, the Philly-bred turntablist and producer that the world has grown to more associate with Will "The Fresh Prince" Smith from back in the day. Seldom ever seen, Jazzy Jeff and his production team, A Touch of Jazz handle this LP with their vibrant Philly-Soul throughout. The amalgamation of mostly hip hop, touches of R&B, spoken-word poetry and even a deep house track, "In Time" featuring V at the album's closing, unquestionably all make this an urban masterpiece. America's present hotbed of urban finesse is Philadelphia if you hadn't witnessed, and as Jazzy Jeff ropes in Jill Scott, ?uestlove, The Last Emperor, Shawn Stockman (from Boyz II Men), J-Live, Freddie Foxx and a host of really talented locals from his camp, the evidence from this homegrown LP is of pure excellence.
There's too many excellent cuts here - approximately ALL - to magnify with my pen. Forget about looking at Jazzy Jeff or pre-judging this album slightly. It kicks off with a familiar jazzy, East Coast melody (the same one A Tribe Called Quest used on "Butter") in the title track (“ The Magnificent”) featuring rappers Pauly Yamz & Baby Blak who in their lyrics, big up Jeff's long-lasting career. Jeff's scratching snippets offer vinyl cuts of Fresh Prince, Biz Markie and Special Ed classics which all collide in unison, introducing you to a post-summer, street-savvy soundtrack of quality productions and fresh undiscovered talent. Take for instance the lead single, " For Da Love Of Da Game", again by Pauly Yamz & Baby Blak who ride and tear this smooth soul fusion of addictive guitar licks and Rhodes keys. It simply melts into your ears with pure, sweet easiness. Many of these tracks tend to invoke the 'butter-smooth' factor into its recipe. For instance, even when " Worldwide" pushes a Pete Rock-type production style, Jeff leaves the chorus wide open for a hook with some seductive soul singing. More and more smoothness is thrown at your dome when Shawn Stockton of Boyz II Men is glad to demonstrate his singing power on "How I Do." When newcomer Raheim grabs a hold of the mic with his time-sensitive lyrics on "My People," the floating atmosphere he creates is ascension to heaven. This dreamy, mid-tempo groove seems destined to be an anthem for the oppressed from city to city: "MY PEOPLE was made to endure, MY PEOPLE'S all shapes and colors, MY PEOPLE'S got more people with them, that's more people - more sisters and brothers/MY PEOPLE stay strong as an OX, MY PEOPLE will never fail, MY PEOPLE will always remain, remain with a story to tell!"

As for spit-kicking lyrical emcees, it's J-Live's two tracks, " Break It Down" over the deadliest hip hop underground production here that takes you on a journey beyond the shine or floss of typical rap rotation. On his undeniably soothing next track, " A Charmed Life", we see this LP standing up to test anymore crazy enough to step into this ring. It's a shame that two excellent cuts as this only stand a chance of being heard, providing you are aware of this album. What's up with radio these days? Even when one wants to take a break from the head-nodding power of other quite danceable party starters such as " Musik Lounge" featuring Odyssey and "Rock with U" featuring Eric Roberson, there's still more to offer you relaxation. Chill out to the imaginative and pictorial memorabilia of Philadelphia's black history that is painted through the spoken-word poetry of Jill Scott on " We Live In Philly", and allow yourself to be drawn into a city that has always been rich in black culture. - Marlon Regis

Pulse
****
DJ JAZZY JEFF
The Magnificent ( BBE )

While Will Smith has gone on to Hollywood, his old partner in scratch DJ Jazzy Jeff has left the acting alone (save a couple of Fresh Prince episodes) and quietly gone about business. He started up A Touch of Jazz production company and scored a huge hit album for Jill Scott. Jeff comes back to the forefront with a mix CD, The Magnificent, that is the highlight of BBE's "Beat Generation" series. It's everything you love about Jazzy's production--silky beats, deft scratches and moody keys--narrated by some of hip-hop's best up-and-coming talents. Guests include Jill Scott, Odyssey, Freddie Fox, Raheem, Flo Brown, the Last Emperor, Baby Blak and Pauly Yamz. His collaborations with rapper J-Live on "Break It Down" and "A Charmed Life" are excellent examples of hip-hop's planets and stars aligning. The dynamic duo form a powerful backcourt. The only negative about The Magnificent is there's no "Jazzy Jeff on the Wheels of Steel" scratch track; it'd be nice to hear how his trademark transformer scratch has aged over the years. Hopefully, Will Smith will get off this Willennium trip and get back with Jeff and conquer the world, just as they did back in the mid-'80s. If not, cross your fingers for J-Live to fill in on a permanent basis.

By Todd Inoue

synthesis.net

Most people remember DJ Jazzy Jeff as one half of the duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, and while The Fresh Prince went on to become better known as alien-slayer Will Smith, "Jazzy" Jeff Townes stuck with producing music. His name started to surface in the mainstream again last year as the producer behind Philadelphia vocal sensation Jill Scott, whose soulful lyrical delivery benefited from the amazing, vibrantly soulful and solid music that Townes crafted for her. So it stands to reason that The Magnificent, while not a surprise, sure as hell is pleasant.
For this BBE project, Jazzy Jeff has created a number of tracks for a variety of vocal guests like Pauly Yamz and Baby Blak, The Last Emperor and Boyz II Men's Shawn Stockman. Jeff has a plainly evident talent with jazz, funk and soul breaks and can always find the deepest, funkiest and most powerful loops, creating prime working conditions for lyrical masters like J-Live. This Bedford-Stuyvesant English teacher and rapper graces two tracks: "Charmed Life," which appears on his own All of the Above album, and "Break it Down" a stomping little ditty in which J-Live calls out all wack MCs and Jazzy Jeff goes to work on the wax, slicing the record like a Benihana chef. Jill Scott makes an appearance (sadly, only one) on The Magnificent, joining Jeff in a hometown hype song called "We Live in Philly," in which she kicks spoken word about dreams over thick funk bass and string accompaniment backed by organ and a slow rhythmic shuffle. This is destined to be a (hopefully not-so) slept-on classic.
- Max Sidman
rap.de

Jeffrey all Townes , better admits under its alias DJ Jazzy Jeff , steps finally, nine years after the last LP "code talks", with its partner wants to Smith aka The Fresh Prince from the shade to the daylight. Not the fact that it would have been dormant or would have hidden itself. Jeff is not a center human being, as wants one is. The DJ and producer rather pulls in the background the threads and already created 1990 its own production company "A Touch OF jazz".

After some productions, among other things for Jill Scott , was it now at the time to step times again separately into the footlights. The framework, which it selected itself, fits thereby very well: Its first solo album "The Magnificent" appears in the context of the Beat generation series of BBE, in that already producer sizes such as Pete skirt , wants I.AM , Jay DTE among other things. shone. covers 17 TRACKS the work, which have all one together: the Smoothness of their producer. No matter whether hard RAP or singing, productions of Jazzy Jeff proves as very harmonious, usually reduced and never arduously - completely so, like the Erschaffer. He found his own style long and tried on the album not forceful to prove something or not fulfill categories, because it offers the market perhaps straight in such a way. Thus no Potpourri at different styles developed here, but a harmonious, well working album, without large of star.

Jazzy Jeff got itself not, like it some its colleagues to do to tend, the MCs most announced at present in the studio, but geschart partly stood, partly still relatively unknown artists around itself, who are momentarily not so strong in the focus. Thus one could hear Love OF there there on preceded the EP Pauly Yamz & baby Blak on the outstanding piece of "For Game", one of the highlights of the album. Pauly Jamz is not more frequently represented, e.g. on "The Magnificent", "Know Your Hood" or "Worldwide", it convinced however by any means always. There the flow is, but do not come much to say except empty phrases, which one is already sufficient to knows, unfortunately more rueber. My opinion after too few to be the frequently on the album represented. Freddie Fox points to "Scram" that it is not still more despising a MC, that its style will remain always faithful - ruff & raw, also to a Jazzy Jeff instrument valley. Also another hopeful MC, which had so far much pitch with its Labeldeals, " The load Emperor ", is to be heard on a TRACK. Rather suitably here the title, "Mystery is one". I hope that he will soon create the break-through, it it would always have earned.

That j-Live can co-operate successfully with Jeff, one already heard on its last album. "A Charmed Life", so the title, is again represented also on "The Magnificent". In addition, the outstanding new Song "BREAK It down" shows the fact that chemistry between the two is correct - who was still times wants Smith? Somewhat drop does the album with most R&B numbers. They are likewise well through-produced - the straight instrument valley of "How I DO" is rather good -, but Shawn Stockman of Boys II Men, Eric Robertson , Raheim or "V" cannot really convince me. But but Jill Scott gives a successful sample of its Spoken Word of talent on "incoming goods Live in Philly". Otherwise I would have promised myself a little more, what concerns the R&B part on the disk.

Thus my result precipitates as follows: Productions of Jazzy Jeff please me continuous well to very actually well; it is also in principle a good idea to offer and them place give to less well-known artists a forum to prove itself. Unfortunately however in it exactly also the weakness of the album lies. Only some of them knows to convince really. One is however clear: DJ Jazzy Jeff is, with or without the fresh prince, still "The Magnificent" - today enriched with a "Touch OF jazz"!

Basti

Dj Jazzy Jeff
The Magnificent

Ever wonder what happened to Will Smith’s former partner Dj Jazzy Jeff? You know, his flat top sidekick Uncle Phil would always throw out the front door on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air? Yea, I was disappointed as well that there wasn’t a spinoff starring Jeff, but he decided not to stay in the limelight of Hollywood, and instead return to the underground of his hometown of Philadelphia, and get back to what he does best: music.

In the past few years, Jazzy Jeff has been making his presence felt in the hip hop/ soul music scene of Philadelphia, by staying behind the scenes. He opened his own studios named “a touch of jazz” studios, where he has produced tracks for and worked with such up-and-coming philly artists as Musiq, Bilal, Glenn Lewis, Jill Scott and Jaguar Wright. But beyond producing tracks in his studio, he has continued to remind people that the letters “D” and “J” still belong at the front of his name, by strutting his stuff at weekly DJ sessions in local philly clubs. Somewhere along the way, Jeff was approached by the London-based record label BBE to do the fifth album of their “Beat Generation” series, which in the past

has included albums by legendary hip hop producers Pete Rock, Jay Dee, and Will.i.am of the hip hop group Black Eyed Peas. The Magnificent is that fifth album, and Jeff is very greatful for the opportunity BBE gave to him. “Making this record waz a breath of fresh air 4 me… being able to make a record with no limitation but your creativity iz very rare n the major music industry 2day… is all about business so we loose a lot of the true artists we have,” Jeff says on the experience. The liberation Jeff was given on the album, and his creativity certainly show throughout the album. Like he said himself, maybe if more of today’s top artists weren’t worried about a hit single or the business aspect of music, more albums would be like The Magnificent, in the sense that creativity is the only limit.

After listening to The Magnificent, Jeff’s limit of creativity seems endless. It’s obvious he set out to make an album to represent philly, and it’s fusion of sounds. The Magnificent is a hip hop album, but along with the hiphop comes the rest of the Philadelphia experience: the soul-crooner hooks and the touch of jazz. One of these “fusion” songs, is “How I Do” a collaboration between Jeff and Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men. The constant hiphop beat is in the background, but layered on top of that is jazz-styled bass and piano. All of this music serves as a great backing to Stockman’s wavering voice on the chorus, and new-comer MC Cy Young’s rap verses. The use of new-coming mcs, such as Cy Young, is another element that makes The Magnificent a great album. Rather than calling up all of his high-profile celebrity friends, Jeff decided to keep this album a philly affair (for the most part). Appearing on five of the eighteen tracks are underground MCs Pauly Yamz and Baby Blak. Both sound hungry and ready to break out for the rest of the world to hear them. Another new name that appears on much of the album is Raheem. He provides most of the afore mentioned “soul crooning” on the hooks, and sounds much like the other male philly soul singers like Musiq and Bilal. One of Jeff’s other talents, aside from finding fresh, new talent, is his amazing DJ skills. Unfortunately, he doesn’t show them off nearly as much as his anticipating fans wished he would, but they do have one track where Jeff goes all out. On the track “Break it Down,” a straight-forward rap song featuring rapper J-Live, Jeff provides the cuts behind J, and throws in an extra bonus at the end. He recruited such legendary DJs as Qbert, Babu, Spinbad, and Xcel, and each take a turn showing off their skills, making a great collaborative ending that any aspiring DJ, or hiphop fan can marvel at.

The Magnificent is an overall solid album. Jazzy Jeff took the opportunity to freely use his creativity to the max, and made a great blend of an album, and a great representation of what Philly is today. The fusion of hiphop, rnb, soul, and jazz soaks through this record like a philly cheesesteak through a paper plate. Will Smith’s one time cohort is only at the beginning of a great solo career.

-dro

http://www.ukhh.com/reviews/nonuk/1069.html

I really wanted this to be good, I really wanted to like this but I just couldn’t. Remember back in the day? Remember DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince in Union Square? Well forget it all. It seems that guy has gone, just as the Fresh Prince has, or should I say Will Smith. Is no one safe these days from the commercial machine? Jazzy Jeff’s cuts are box standard and nowhere near enough. You would also think that Jeff would have all manners of names all over the LP, but no, you get a bit of J-Live, Last Emperor and Freddie Foxxx, after that its mostly unheard of Emcees or, god forbid, Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men, I know, shocking isn’t it! Break It Down featuring J-Live is the only real good track on there with some good cuts, but nothing that your average bedroom DeeJay in the UK couldn’t do. I suppose if I was forced to chose another track I would say Mystery Man featuring The Last Emperor is a good enough track, but in no way makes the LP worth the money.

As a conclusion, when I first got my hands on this to review it I was really looking forward to checking it out. As a fan of Jeff back in the day there was no way this wasn’t going to be good, oh how wrong can I be. J-Live saves this LP on both A Charmed Life and Break It Down, I would hate to think of The Magnificent without J-Live on it as it doesn’t bear thinking about. If I were a big fat rich lawyer I would grab Jazzy Jeff by the scruff of his collar and kick the guy out of my house, and no wonder. The Magnificent? I am sad to say, but I think not. I try to remember people at their best, that way you have better memories, I am going to therefore forget I ever heard this. Pity really.

Jazzy Jeff - The Magnificent (Motown / Universal)

As a DJ myself, what can I say about such a legend? Well, I recently had the opportunity to see him spin live, up close & personal and believe me…..He is Magnificent! Believe the hype. Couple his skills on the tables with his DJ ear for music, put him behind the boards and add a supporting cast of hungry hometown Philly cats & what you’ll have is the latest installment of BBE Record’s Beat Generation series. DJ Jazzy Jeff - The Magnificent.

From start to finish, this album is pure ear candy. Hip hop, R&B, Neo-soul, and even a house track. Every last joint is hot, but the ones that stood out for me most are the lead single “For Da Love of Da Game” featuring the rhyme stylings of Baby Blak & Pauly Yamz, “How I Do” featuring Shawn Stockman & Sy Young, Break It Down” featuring J-Live over an ill Brady Bunch sample, and the list goes on. Gotta mention “Rock Wit U” featuring Erro which is a sweeeeet R&B track.

There really isn’t too much I can say about this album except, GO GET IT!!! It’s just hot in every sense of the word.

Lyrics - 3.5
Production - 5
TOTAL - 8.5

BET

Talkin' All That Jazz
By Miles Marshall Lewis

DJ Jazzy Jeff

The Magnificent

BBE

Don't snicker. You may be used to gigging on DJ Jazzy Jeff as the ne'er-do-well character Jazz on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," or deriding his hip-pop efforts with Will Smith in the late 1980s/early '90s, but don't sleep. DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince were one of the very first multiplatinum rap groups. And more important than that, Jeff himself revolutionized deejaying. Turntablists the world over owe a debt to Jeff (as well as his Philadelphia brethren, DJ Cash Money) for popularizing the "transforming" scratch style invented by DJ Spinbad back in the day. And where there's talent, there's room for reinvention.

Enter A Touch of Jazz, founded by "Jazzy Jeff" Townes in the wake of Will Smith's Oscar-bound exodus to Hollywood years back. ATOJ was responsible for the bulk of production on Jill Scott's debut (though Jeff himself contributed only one interlude, "Exclusively"). Now, fresh for 2002, Jeff drops an "I'm the DJ, they're the rappers" compilation entitled The Magnificent, and it's not half bad. Coming from a group who made their biggest hit from the "I Dream of Jeannie" theme (lest you forget), Jeff opts for a familiar trick, recycling some interlude music from "The Brady Bunch" on the album highlight, "Break It Down." J-Live blesses the track with holy-roller fervor: "I'm the man of the hour 24 times a day/The man of the day 365 out the year/That bulls*** you say, Live is not tryin' to hear." The Magnificent's most accomplished MC this side of J-Live is Freddie Foxxx, appearing on "Scram." Unfortunately, the sing-songy hook runs counter to his hardcore flow, weighing the song way down.

Jeff's tracks aren't hip-pop, but they're often too smooved out for their own good: Lionel Hampton-like vibes run through "A Charmed Life"; the chorus to "Musik Lounge" is thickly multitracked ("Muzak Lounge," anyone?). Local Philly talent like Pauly Yamz & Baby Blak and singer Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men warm up Jeff's tracks, but fail to bring things to a boil.

The second summit of the record - Jill Scott's sexy, near Valley Girl-accented monologue on "We Live in Philly" - saves the day, and The Magnificent concludes with the uptempo house-music (!) groove of "In Time." It could have been better, it could have been worse, but at least DJ Jazzy Jeff won't be bothering his gone-Hollywood homeboy for a reunion record anytime soon


metacritic.com
metascore 71 - generally favorable reviews
DJ Jazzy Jeff
The Magnificent
Rapster


You know him from his days supplying the beats to the Fresh Prince, but DJ Jazzy Jeff has finally stepped into the spotlight with this solo debut. Vocals are supplied by a variety of guests, including Jill Scott, Raheim, ?uestlove and J-Live.

All scores given by critics have been converted to a 10-point scale. When a critic does not provide a score in his/her review, we have assigned one based on the general impression given by the review.


9 PopMatters
Like the best mixtape, The Magnificent glides from songs that are destined to be underground classics, party tracks, songs to get our swerve on to, and the straight head nodders.
8 Vibe
Recalls the early '90s work of A Tribe Called Quest. [Sep 2002, p.244]
8 The Onion (AV Club)
DJ Jazzy Jeff still makes music that matters, which can't be said of his former partner.
8 All Music Guide
The Magnificent has an incredible range; Jeff does it all well, even when moving from soulful R&B ("Rock Wit U" with Eric Roberson) to basement hip-hop on the very next track ("Scram" with Freddie Foxxx).
8 Entertainment Weekly
These sublimely fluid grooves have heart. [16 Aug 2002, p.72]
7 Mixer
The album straddles old-school R&B, hip-hop, adeep house and anything else that illuminates Jeff's mad production skills. [Aug 2002, p.79]
7 Playlouder
'The Magnificent' largely sidelines Jeff's considerable turntablist skills preferring to showcase the talents of his A Touch Of Jazz production company.
5 Dot Music
It's just hard to find much of Jeff himself in these amiable, head-nod-friendly, immaculately crafted but ever so slightly sterile tracks.
4 Blender
The album's fine pedigree might have worked in a more conservative era. [#9, p.144]


August 26, 2002

Jazzy Jeff's first solo album, The Magnificent, is the fifth installment in London-based BBE Recordings' Beat Generation series -- a producer-driven project that honors some of hip-hop's most superb beat catalysts. A Chex-mix of jazz, soul, and funk, the album honors one of Philadelphia's best-known DJs with a seasoning of native Philly MCs (Flo Brown, Pauly Yamz, Baby Blak, Last Emperor) and vocalists (Raheim and Jill Scott).
What's particularly impressive about Magnificent, in addition to the lush, intimate production, is that the MCs' deal with a variety of subject matter in ways opposed to being banal -- avoiding overused hip-hop clichés. Flo Brown teaches that love "makes you walk the air/ crawl on stairs and call on prayers" on "Love Saviour," while Pauly Yamz hips a materialistic that "there's more to life than a Polo sweater." J-Live is brilliant on "A Charmed Life" -- getting autobiographical over a straight jazz track of piano, acoustic bass, and a drum brush. Then Jill's spoken word "We Live in Philly" is a Philacentric shout to local genius (athletes, artists, etc) over the string sample from Roy Ayers' classic "We Live in Brooklyn.

The album's only missteps are "How I Do" and "Rock Wit U," where the benign songwriting and vocal techniques of Shawn Stockman and Eric Robinson make them sound like disposable, microwave-able R&B fodder. Critics will find that Jeff's skills as DJ and producer are subdued in place of showcasing his partners at the Touch of Jazz production firm. Still this solo excursion is a future classic and one of the best of the Beat Generation series so far.

Hamida Kinge
CDNOW Contributing Writer

DJ Jazzy Jeff - The Magnificent (BBE/Creative Vibes)

rating: 4 (jazzy/hiphop/soul)

Since going their separate ways in the mid-nineties, the careers of Jazzy Jeff and his long time partner The Fresh Prince Will Smith could not have been more divergent. While Smith became a Hollywood rap star releasing album after album of sonic turds, Jazzy Jeff Townes went underground, back to his native Philadelphia and established his A Touch Of Jazz studio and label, working with credible artists such as Jill Scott and Masters At Work, getting in on the ground floor of the nascent neo-soul scene centered around Philly. Townes now gets the chance to showcase his current sound from London label BBE through their acclaimed Beat Generation series and he doesn’t disappoint, cramming many of the rich cultural influences of his city including soul, jazz, hip-hop, poetry and even house into a superb collection of well-crafted tracks.

Living up to his name, jazz is the overriding influence throughout most of the hip-hop tracks here, the very antithesis of the pop fluff and thuggish melodramatics found further north in New York. Jeff provides lots of room for up and coming Philly rhymesters such as Baby Blak and Pauly Yamz to shine on smooth, classy, highly instrumental tracks although it is the more established MC’s who tend to steal the limelight. Rawkus wordsmith The Last Emperor brings a grimy street-authority; the angriest man in hip-hop Freddie Foxxx conjures up a hardcore moment that takes a leaf out of Pharoahe Monchs’ book of catchy hooks; Cy Young marks himself as definitely one to watch while J-Live cements his place as one of the best around with the complexly rocking Break It Down and the superb, autobiographical A Charmed Life.
It ain’t just hip-hop though as Raheim does a superb Whats Goin’ On Marvin Gaye-like performance on My People, Jill Scott flips Roys Ayres’ We Live in Brooklyn Baby with some seriously sassy, bugged-out spoken word and the shockingly good New Jersey-style soulful house workout of In Time featuring V is a wonderful surprise in closing. If there was any justice in this world.....

DARREN COLLINS

Posted on Sun, Aug. 25, 2002

Review | The master of the scratch
By Tom Moon
Inquirer Music Critic


Once a defining sound of hip-hop, DJ scratching has lately become just another sonic bauble, an obligatory presence so bland it barely cuts through the lavish and often overloaded mixes.

DJ Jazzy Jeff's imaginative, stylistically diverse The Magnificent (Rapster/BBE ***1/2) argues that though the DJ is often in the background, there's still an art to the scratch. And, more significant, its 17 tracks prove that despite hip-hop's current commercial bent, there's still room for innovations - small refinements and flying leaps, outbreaks in which the raps are eclipsed by crazy hiccuping turntable moves.

Right from the opening track, it's clear this isn't your typical pyrotechnic watch-me-DJ display: Jeff Townes lurks as rappers Pauly Yamz and Baby Blak roll through his biography, interjecting playful, quipping asides over a Weather Report sample. The turntables move in after the second verse, as Jeff sets up a stereo call-and-response exchange that begins in the left channel and finishes in the right. His phrases dart between vinyl-scraping squiggles and dramatic syncopations that embody the spirit and technical agility of bebop improvisation.

From there, The Magnificent touches on all kinds of music: There are tart old-school taunts ("Scram," featuring veteran MC Freddie Foxxx); slithering jazz-guitar grooves ("Shake It Off"); gorgeously harmonized neo-soul reveries ("Rock Wit U," featuring Touch of Jazz producer Eric Roberson); and moments of stylistic fusion that defy categorization (the swinging, vibraphone-laced "A Charmed Life," a showcase for Brooklyn rapper J-Live).

Rather than lowball the marketplace or simply show off his wizardry, Jeff chose instead to dive into anexploration of wild hip-hop possibilities. With his Touch of Jazz crew, he created an environment where
anything could happen, and from that sprang J-Live's riveting hip-hop/swing autobiography, Jill Scott's delirious spoken-word reverie "We Live in Philly," and a bunch of tunes that could only have grown out ofthe dedication expressed in the album's first single:
"You ain't doing this for watches and chains... you got the love of the game."

Best known as Will Smith’s sidekick in DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air TV series, hip-hop production force Jazzy Jeff has been working on developing new artists through his production company, A Touch of Jazz (Jill Scott, etc.), since day one. On this installment of BBE’s Beat Generation series, Jeff puts his own production skills on center stage. The Magnificent displays the same jazz-inflected rhythms that infused Scott’s debut. Featured are veteran MCs like J-Live, Freddie Foxxx and vocalists such as Jill Scott and Shawn Stockman (Boyz II Men). Raheim and Cy Young offer messages on “We Are” and “My People.” J-Live lends underground cred to “Break It Down” and “A Charmed Life.” Magnificent may be overstating the case, but Jeff’s production chops narrow the gap
between fantasy and reality. (Lucy Beer)
djmixed

hybrid magazine

I must admit, everytime I saw those old episodes of Fresh Prince where Jazzy Jeff made his little appearances, I wondered what we was up to nowadays. I wondered if he was jealous of Will’s fame, or went off to pursue something else. Perhaps I just wasn’t very well connected but I’m sure I’m not the only one out there that wondered the same. Well, everything was brought to light this month! BBE Records and Rapster are releasing the debut full-length “The Magnificent” from DJ Jazzy Jeff in August. Apparently, if you didn’t have a clue like I didn’t, Jeff stared A Touch of Jazz, which is a large musical production facility with a number of producers and have been more then busy writing TV theme songs, producing Will Smith’s solo albums, and working with artists like MC Lyte, Kenny Latimore, Michael Jackson, and um.....Darius Rucker of um....Hootie and the Blowfish. Yes, while I’m sure this sounds like a great biz venture, it does make you wonder what on earth this album is going to sound like. I don’t like Hootie, most TV themes, Willenium or whatever, and especially not Michael J’s new material!! Never fear, the album, it actually pretty damn good and reminds me of the golden 93’ era. The production isn’t ground-breaking but wicked regardless and my god, the guest line-up is simply amazing. Everyone from Jill Scott, ?uestlove, J-Live, Freddie Foxx, Raheim, Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men, Pauly Yamz, Baby Blak, and plenty more. The finest element is Jazzy Jeff pulling together a lot of urban styles aside from hip-hop like soul, r’n’b, spoken word and deep house! Jazzy Jeff should of done this a long time ago but it does sound like he’s been a bit busy.


Artist: DJ JAZZY JEFF
Title: THE MAGNIFICENT
Label: BBE Records/ Rapster Records
Link http://www.djjazzyjeff.com/ , www.bbemusic.com and www.rapsterrecords.com
Root: US/ Hip Hop

Philly's DJ Jazzy Jeff needs no introduction. After more than 10 million albums sold and 3 Grammy's with Will "The Fresh Prince" Smith, countless TV appearances on "the Fresh Prince of Bel Air", it is surprising that an action figure hasn't yet been made in his image. Action is what you get plenty of on the Magnificent, the next release in the Beat Generation series, dedicated to put the emphasis on the hip hop DJ-producer, and also DJ Jazzy Jeff first solo album, for which he enlisted MCs, singers and spoken word artist like Jill Scott, Shawn Stockman from Boyz II Men, J-Live, ?uestlove from the Roots, as well as many artist from his famed production company A Touch Of Jazz (who recently produced Michael Jackson's "Butterfly"). The production style is made of classic chilled jazzy breaks, R&B grooves, and occasionally wanders off into roughneck territories, covering a wider urban spectrum. But the shocker comes last with "In Time" featuring the soulful vocals of V, a collaboration with Masters At Work delivering 6 minutes of pure deep house bliss, certain to raise some eyebrows, but ultimately will see everybody happily getting down.

bookla

Coming off his wildly successful EP, this has been one of the most highly anticipated full-length releases of the summer and it does not disappoint. Jeff pulls off the trick of creating a very balanced album with a diverse group of guest vocalists (ranging from J-Live to Jill Scott to Freddie Foxx to one of the dudes from Boyz II Men) by creating the track around each guest's style, but always keeping it close to his "Touch Of Jazz" mode. Standout tracks include "The Magnificent(1)" and "For Da Love Of Da Game(2)" with Pauly Yamz & Baby Black, "Break It Down(3)" and "Charmed Life(4)" with J-Live, and "Musik Lounge(5)" with Odyssey. About half the songs feature singers only, and while this may not be for the hardknocks, they work well when you're in the mood . Could be the best in the BBE Beat Generation series so far. 17 tracks total.
turntablelab

Popmatters

All it takes is a good mixtape to put you in the right mood.
Having The Magnificent by DJ Jazzy Jeff sitting on my desk has caused a pavlovian response by everyone in my office: "That's not the DJ Jazzy Jeff? Is it?" As soon as I satiate their curiosity my coworkers all seem to get a warm smile as if they've been transported back to a happier place for a moment. The smile is then followed with "I didn't know he was still around."
As one half of DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, Jazzy helped launch rap into mainstream radio. Their Grammy-winning track "Parents Just Don't Understand" was irresistible radio fodder and the Fresh Prince's charisma helped them take over MTV. The follow up single "Summertime" proved that they weren't just rhyming about kid stuff and became their first number one single. Their subsequent records failed to generate sales and the Fresh Prince was off to Bel Air with Jeff riding shotgun. Will Smith was able to parlay his ability into a movie career, while Jeff seemingly disappeared. To most it seemed as if one of the most successful DJs/producers had gone awol, destined for one of those Where Are They Now? specials on VH1. Thing is Jeff has been making beats and tracks all along. Using the money he made off of his early success, he started his production company A Touch of Jazz in 1990. A Touch of Jazz went on to become one of the most revered companies in the music industry, producing hit tracks by everyone from Will Smith to Dave Hollister to Jill Scott.
Jazz's fall wasn't just from the public eye. Despite his impeccable resume, he's not the kind of producer spoken about with reverence by the hip-hop community. While people can't utter Marley Marl or Pete Rock's names without drooling, you almost never here anyone mention Jeff. Well, it's time to give DJ Jazzy Jeff the respect he deserves. The UK's Barely Breaking Even Records has brought us their latest installment of the Beat Generation series, this time starring DJ Jazzy Jeff in his first leading role. Beat Generation is a Christmas present for those who understand that the best hip-hop songs are built from the back to the front. With all due respect to Guru, it's often the beat more than the voice that propels the tracks we nod our heads to 10 years later.
The Magnificent has Jazzy Jeff coming out the gate with both barrels firing. The title track gets things started with upcoming MCs Pauly Yanz and Baby Blak trading verses over a smooth piano and bass joint that sets the tone for the rest of the album. While A Tribe Called Quest frequently receives all the credit for marrying jazz and rap, Jazzy Jeff is the man who invented the style. Even on his earliest, most playful tracks with the Fresh Prince, it was Jazzy Jeff displayed a proficiency for jazz and soul arrangements that could turn even the silliest cut into a head nodder. Ten years later nothing has changed.
"Shake It Off", the second cut, is a track we've been waiting De La Soul to release for the past five years. Over a bouncing bass line, Chef rhymes about using the dancefloor and music, as opposed to guns and violence, as a way to relieve stress. While the track will not satiate the blood-thirsty appetite of some of today's hip-hop fans, it's a welcome trip back to a world where knowledge truly reigned supreme over nearly everybody. J-Live steps up to the mic on "Break It Down" and displays why he is one of the most underrated MCs in the business. Giving a lesson to wanna-be-rappers, J-Live points out that a true MC can rhyme about anything and that, if you can't, you should stick to admiring those who can from a distance. J-Live reappears towards the end of the album on "A Charmed Life", a refreshing track on which he rhymes about being blessed because he gets to teach children by day and MC by night. On "Scram" Freddie Foxx serves notice to all hoods that they should stay clear of his path if all they can bring to the table is talk about how hard they are.
Bringing back another blast from the past, Boyz II Men crooner Shawn Stockman proves he's still got pipes on "How I Do". Jazzy's skills are not limited to hip-hop, as the album mixes in the occasional soul and R&B number. "My People" featuring Raheem is a beautiful number reminiscent of some of the best '70s soul available. Saving the best for last, on "We Live in Philly" he flips the Roy Ayers classic "We Live in Brooklyn," and with the help of Jill Scott turns it into the ultimate tribute to the City of Brotherly Love.
All of the best producers bring their own unique touch to what they do. You know a Pete Rock or Neptunes track as soon as you hear the first beat. Jazzy Jeff brings a sense of confidence only displayed by those who have mastered their craft. There's nothing on here that screams "look at me", instead the songs are held together by a firm backbone created in Jazzy Jeff's lab. While some DJs try to show off, cutting for the sake of it and coming off like a hip-hop Yngwie Malmsteen. Jeff's mixing and scratching are tasteful, you know he can take out any sucker MC, but he doesn't have to prove that on every cut. Displaying the precision of a surgeon, his cuts, scratches, beat juggling and mixing are all on point leaving no excess waste for the listener to have to wade through. Like the best mixtape, The Magnificent glides from songs that are destined to be underground classics, party tracks, songs to get our swerve on to, and the straight head nodders. Any of these 17 tracks could receive major airplay and return Jeff to the top of the hip-hop game. However, I get the feeling he enjoys the niche he's carved out for himself and is not looking to further his name. Even when he was on regular rotation on MTV, it was the Fresh Prince who was always mugging for the camera while Jeff played the back wall, sunglasses down. This album was just to show everyone that Jazzy is still the best at hip-hop or R&B. Most likely he'll fade to the back of our memory again, propelling track after track to the top of the charts without us even realizing the role he played.
popmattersby Adam Dlugacz
PopMatters Music Critic

Amazon

This solo joint from DJ Jazzy Jeff, which follows other "Beat Generation" albums by Jay Dee, Marley Marl, and Pete Rock, sees JJ come up with a textured album steeped in jazz, soul, and funk. Jeff has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the rap game after his time with Will "Fresh Prince" Smith--he started his own production company A Touch of Jazz a few years ago--and his expertise comes shining through in this slickly produced affair, all cavernous bass lines, tight, hypnotic beats, and gorgeously unhurried feel, with guests ranging from the fresh to the famous. Names like Jill Scott, Boyz II Men's Shawn Stockman, J-Live, and ?uestlove from the Roots supply a rich selection of R&B croons and MC flows, and while there's not much for the headbangers here, anyone looking for something silky, soulful, and seductive will find The Magnificent a massive aphrodisiac. --Paul Sullivan

Vibe


A new-school architect, Jeff suffuses his album with a throwback vibe that recalls the early '90s work of A Tribe Called Quest, building beats from fluid guitar melodies, muted piano chords, and viscous bass lines. Oliver Wang

inthemix.com.au

Say the name "DJ Jazzy Jeff" and the next thing that will come to many peoples mind is "and the Fresh Prince". The early nineties duo of producer Jeff and rapper the Fresh Prince (Will Smith) were a grammy winning, multi million selling outfit that set up the careers for two young guys from Philadelphia trying to make it big in the cut throat music business. Whilst Smith has found even more fame in his crossover to acting, Jeff has earned a reputation, through his production outfit A Touch of Jazz, as a producer everybody who's anybody wants to work with. And he's worked with some of the finest, with everyone from Tatyana Ali to Michael Jackson as well as production on most of Smith's solo work.

After over a decade of working on everyone else's projects Jeff has finally decided to call in some of the favours and release his debut solo album. His guest vocalists for each track are from both his own "A Touch of Jazz" outfit as well as guests artists he has deemed appropriate and worthy to accompany his tunes. The album is expectedly a mainly hip hop and r'n'b affair, however there are moments of jazzy and deep house beats for those thinking it would be all too predictable.

A laidback hip hop beat opens proceedings with the track The Magnificent and features on vocals Baby Blak and MC Pauly Yamz, both of whom are artists from A Touch of Jazz. Within the soft hip hop beats you can hear Jazzy Jeff scratching it up with precision and showing off some of his turntable skills. This is something Jeff continues throughout the album and is definitely a highlight in terms of listening pleasure. For Da Love Of Da Game and Worldwide, which feature the same vocalists, offer a similar style with both of these tracks offering the contrasting melodic vocals versus the rapping MC.

Jeff captures the soulful voice of Boyz II Men's Shawn Stockman in How Do I Do whilst creating a more P Diddy feel when collaborating with Freddie Foxx in Scram. It is the final three tracks which hold the most interest however and offer a little insight into other areas of Jazzy Jeff's musical leanings. A Charmed Life features the vocals of J-Live rapping over a jazzy beat and bass line. We Live in Philly introduces the female vocals of Jill Scott rapping over a funky bass line and beat whilst the final track, In Time, explores the world of deep house.

This album is for fans of those who love their hip hop with a well produced r'n'b flavour. Or perhaps their r'n'b with cruisy hip hop beats. Either way if that sounds like you then this is an album by one of the most talented and respected producers on the scene. It probably won't be so readily accepted by those who prefer a more raw sound in their beats however in saying so Jeff offers more than a stock standard genre album and is well worth a listen.

 

Slant Magazine

While Will Smith, the former Fresh Prince, has flourished as a solo act for most of the past decade, DJ Jazzy Jeff has kept himself behind the scenes, playing a key role in the success of Smith's first two solo albums and helping to foster the careers of fellow Philly artists Jill Scott and Musiq Soulchild. Jeff's new album, The Magnificent (part of BBE's "The Beat Generation" series), is a homegrown effort that joins the producer with a flock of other Philly-bred artists including Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men and ?uestlove. The album's first single, "For Da Love Of Da Game," and "Musik Lounge" pick up where the cool vibe of DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's "Summertime" left off. Jeff's magnificent versatility shines throughout the album; his signature scratches and jazzy guitar licks adorn hip-hop tracks like "Break It Down" as well as smooth R&B songs like "We Are," featuring Raheim. At a lengthy 17 tracks, The Magnificent seems to trudge along at times, perhaps burdened by sparse arrangements which keep the vocals center stage almost too consistently. But just when things get yawny, the monotony is broken by a trio of expertly crafted tunes: J-Live waxes poetic on the personal value of education on the jazz-infused "A Charmed Life"; Jill Scott whimsically relates a dream as it occurs on "We Live In Philly," a reinterpretation of Roy Ayers' "We Live In Brooklyn Baby" ("It was a o-a-sis of athletes!" she squeals); and "In Time," where the Nuyorican house beats of Masters At Work meet Jeff's Philly soul.
Sal Cinquemani

 

Whilst his work with Will Smith is well known it's Jeff's recent success with his A Touch of Jazz label that has served to remind the listening public that there's a whole lot more to this dude than a pop-rap partnership. In a list of the most influential and successful hip hop deejays, Jeffrey Allen Townes aka Jazzy Jeff, ranks right up there with the likes of DJ Premier, Eric B, Marley Marl and Grandmaster Flash. The New School pioneer enjoys continued fame, in particular thanks to the stir caused by his production company, A Touch of Jazz (Michael Jackson, Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild).
'The Magnificent' album is Jeff off the leash; a production project that calls in a good deal of guests that he helped on the way up as well as forum for Jeff's own spinning skills. Those featured include Jill Scott, Shaun Stockman from Boyz II Men, Freddie Foxxx, J-Live, The Last Emperor & ?uestlove from the Roots as well as a whole lot more from the Touch of Jazz imprint whose stars are definitely in the ascendancy. Swinging from hip hop to R'n'B, through nu-soul and back again, 'The Magnificent' is a rich quilt woven with skills, grooves, slamming vocal performances and smooth production values.

The long awaited debut solo album from the legendary turntablist and producer. Having worked behind the scenes on a number of projects over the years, DJ Jazzy Jeff is now stepping out of the shadows of his production company (A Touch of Jazz) to bring you a ground breaking new album reflecting the rich musical heritage of Philadelphia.
The album features guest appearances from Jill Scott, Shawn Stockman from Boyz II Men, Freddie Foxxx, J-Live, Eric Roberson, MAW, The Last Emperor, Oddisee, Raheem & ?uestlove from the Roots as well as showcasing the many talented artists at A Touch Of Jazz. It is an album that takes you on a musical journey through all genres of urban music; from old skool hip hop, smooth R'n'B and rap through to soulful spoken word and deep house.


The album starts off with "THE MAGNIFICENT." The track opens with a voice sample of the Fresh Prince from 1987's "The Magnificent Jazzy Jeff" and then mid-tempo Hip-Hop beat takes over. Pauly Yamz and Baby Blak trade off verses giving props (kinda like Will always dose). Of course Jazzy finishes off the song with the "Jazzy Jazzy-his name is Jeff" bit. A bunch of scratches finish off the song.

"Shake It Off" is a track featuring Chef who deleivers an up-tempo Hip-Hop joint about forgetting about stress and negative things. The production has these insane keyboards over a traditionally dope Hip-Hop beat. Jeff also scratches alot during the chanted hook and at the end.

Next up is my favorite (which most of u have heard)..."FOR DA LOVE OF DA GAME." Philly emcees Pauly Yamz and Baby Blak spit lyrics that any emcee can relate 2. It's just about writing and rapping and not worrying about money and all the gimicks in rap music. Jazzy Jeff hits u with an incredibly summery, laid back track with a sampled R-N-B hook. Without a doubt one of the best Hip-Hop songs in YEARS. Sadly this promo has the edit which is only over 3 minutes compared 2 the full 5 minute version.

Next up is "WORLDWIDE," another track featuring Baby Blak -n- Pauly Yamz. The beat is mid-tempoed and has a kinda raw street vibe. The r-n-b sung chorus is nice 2...just raw. The subject matter is kinda schetchy 2 me. It just has the 2 emcees talking about themselves.

"HOW I DO" is a slightly raw, Hip-Hop influenced mid-up-tempo R-N-B joint. It features the smooth, silky-voiced Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men. The song has Shawn singing 2 a female that he is just meeting. Good song. The track also has some nice sounds buried in the mix.

"BREAK IT DOWN" starts off with a funny Brady Bunch sample that has Peter talking about his new tape recorded to Greg and Marsha but tells them not 2 hit play cuz he has stuff recorded on it. Then the music stops and the agree 2 listen 2 it. The the music starts back it. It's really funny. J-Live drops a verse, then DJ Jazzy Jeff gets busy on the wheels 4 a bit. J-Live's lyrics are nice and get kinda playful. The song finishes off with a Spin Bad, Exel, Sat One, DJ Revoluction and Q-Bert (and more DJs) scratching like crazy. U kinda wish the song waz at least 10 minutes long tho' so each DJ had more than a few seconds 2 represent.

Next up is the laid-back, chilled "MUSIK LOUNGE." This is probably my 2nd favorite track. It has a summery, laid back vibe but it's not like "...Love of Da Game." The chorus has these great whistel samples under the chanted chorus. Odyssey has a nice crisp and comfortable flow that fits on the soulful groove perfectly.

"ROCK WIT U" is a mad soulful R-N-B song but it's mid-tempoed. Be beat has sythesizers all over the place over a steady tempo u may expect on a Jill Scott album. The song is basically just about anticipating kicking back with someone special.

"SCRAM" featuring Freddi Foxx is next up. Jeff starts scratching from the begininng of this gritty Hip-Hop joint. Freddie Foxx dose one of his finest performances over Jeff's beat. Bumpy Knuckles threatens all fake gangstas and thugs on this song.

Raheim shows up on "MY PEOPLE." The production is soulful with a bit of funk. This R-N-B song has that soulful A Touch of Jazz tag all over it. Some really creative samples are entwined all in this beat. Raheim sings passionatly about black pride and the politics of race. His vocals are layered nicely in the background.

"KNOW UR HOOD" may be my 3rd favorite track. It opens with a humorous conversation between Pauly Yams and Chef about "their friend" who just dosn't act right...ha ha. Jazzy Jeff plays the part of the guy they are talking about. Both emcees just talk about Jeff's character as being their friend but that he dosn't need 2 show up on on the street cuz his selfish, flossing ways are bound 2 find him some trouble.

"LOVE SAVIOUR" features up-and-coming female emcee Flo Brown with Raheim handeling the hook. She raps about this guy she's fallen 4 in a reality-based way. Another mid-tempoed soulful Hip-Hop joint.

Back 2 straight Hip-Hop on "MYSERY MAN." The Last Emperor" raps on this track which also has Jazzy Jeff scratching under the hook.

"WE ARE" is nice Hip-Hop/R-N-B song featuring Cy Young and Raheim. Cy Young holds down the rap and Raheim handels the R-N-B chorus.

Some of u have already heard "A CHARMED LIFE." This track features J-Live rapping over an incredibly jazzy, live instrument track featuing lots of cymbols and vibes. J-Live's verse are fast paced and could stand on their own over the music which seems 2 accompany his verse rather than him rapping over it. The piano is also a nice touch.

"WE LIVE IN PHILLY" is the only track i expected more from. As a life-long Jazzy Jeff fan and a HUGE fan of Jill Scott, i waz expecting this song 2 be my favorite...but it isn't...ha ha. The beat is influence by "We Live In Brooklyn." I love Jill Scotts spoken word stuff but this is more of a monologe. She kinda just runs her mouth over the retro beat in this character voice that is quickly gets on my nerves. The lyrics sound as if she's just on the street talking 2 a friend and most of it's contents reflect on Philly and the people from there.

Last is "IN TIME" featuring V. While the idea isn't unheard of, i personally did not expect it...this a dance track. Co-produced by Masters At Work. Since dance music's influence has not been felt on Hip-Hop or R-N-B albums other than in remixes, this is a very nice touch. The track isn't the pop kinda dance track tho'...more of an R-N-B/disco vibe. V's layered vocals during the chorus are also a nice touch.


Overall, this album is great. Keep in mind that i havn't even had this album for a week so i havn't gotten really really deep in2 it yet (tho' it is the only album listened 2 since i got it). This is also the promo tho' there is a possibility so there is a chance that certain things could be different compared 2 the album when it's released. A few of the trax that i thought were just above-average have grown on me even more. While mainstream Hip-Hop and mainstream R-N-B fans may not totally be feeling this, all REAL Hip-Hop and R-N-B fans should automatically fall in love with it. The album is so good tho' that i'm sure it's audience will grow and branch out in all directions. I really missed not having the Fresh Prince on this album, but DJ Jazzy Jeff needed 2 let the non-believers know what time it waz...and he is going 2 when people hear this album.

-JumpinJack AJ

Newtimesla

To most casual fans, the name Jazzy Jeff conjures up images of Fresh Prince's bubblegum raps -- and it's true, Jeff Townes was the man behind both the turntables and the beats on most of Fresh Prince's early work (save the classic "Summertime," produced by Hula and Finger). But Jazzy Jeff is far more than the guy who produced "I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson."
Making his name in the early 1980s, Jazzy Jeff popularized the transform scratch, which placed emphasis on cutting the sound in and out of the mix using the crossfader or line switches of a mixer. Originally invented by fellow Philadelphia DJ Cash Money, the transform revolutionized scratching, which had previously placed more emphasis on manipulating the record with one's wrist movement. This, alone, is enough to place Jeff in the hip-hop history books, but his impact on the art doesn't stop there. After parting ways with Will Smith, Jeff continued to be a major player on the Philly scene. Since forming his production team, A Touch of Jazz, in 1990, Jeff has produced beats for artists like City High, Lil' Kim and his former partner, Will Smith. Still, it was his contribution to the Roots' 1999 LP Things Fall Apart that brought Jazzy Jeff back into the limelight.
His first solo album, The Magnificent, is far from solo. The tracks are produced by Townes, but feature a host of guest vocalists, ranging from superstars like Jill Scott and Boyz II Men crooner Shawn Stockman to unknowns like Pauly Yamz and Baby Blak. While the beats are impeccable, most of the vocals fall short.
The only true successes are "Break It Down" and "A Charmed Life," both featuring the unfuckwithable J-Live. While the former is exclusive to this compilation, "A Charmed Life" is taken from J-Live's latest, All of the Above, which is a much smarter purchase. Freddie Foxx (a.k.a. Bumpy Knuckles) also excites with his rough and rugged "Scram." Sadly, Jill Scott's interpolation of Roy Ayers' "We Live in Brooklyn, Baby" (titled "We Live in Philly") fails miserably, and is only a reminder of how incredible Digable Planets' 1994 cover truly was. Like its predecessors, this current installment of BBE's Beat Generation delivers nothing more than half-baked sketches.

BY DAFYDD MCKAHARAY

Philly Hip Hop
For Da Love of Da Game

THIS is the best song out of Philadelphia this year. There, I said it. Strong words for a strong song. Love Of The Game is a masterpiece. I don't think I've ever referred to any cut as a masterpiece at PhillyHipHop.com but in this case it's appropriate so I'm going for it.
Our legendary DJ & producer Jazzy Jeff and major league all star emcees Baby Blak and Paul Yamz represent Philly so hard it literally brings tears to my eyes. If this is any indication of what Jazzy Jeff's upcoming album The Magificent is going to be about (and it is), the Hip Hop world is about to be turned on its ears. BBE Records has a no doubt winner on it's hands. This song is pure butta, from the silky smoov vocals of Baby Blak and Paul Yamz to the superifficly soulful, Philly Neo-Soul instrumentation courtesy of The Magnificent Jazzy Jeff. All of this is neatly wrapped around an outstanding hook consisting of delicious R&B vocals from Valvin Marteen advising to " love what you do and do what you love" intertwined with a scratched in sample that tells us these three "represent for Hip Hop and not for rap y'all."
The realness of this song adds to its allure. Strip away their careers, fame, hectic schedules and fans and you'd still find these brothers in the gritty streets of Philly pouring out their hearts simply for the Love Of The Game.

 

Jazzy Jeff: The Magnificent Seven EP on BBE Records

JJ comes clean after the fresh Prince. Finally indulging in what he loves, some pure musical hip hop grooves with some of his friends and lyrics that still ring true.
Big on the SP12 beats that will shudder your system, but with some clean instrumental lines and vocal help from Pauly Yams and Baby Blak on tracks like "For da love of the game", it steers clear of hip hop clichés. The b-lines always drop well with funk appeal and the snare has that characteristic rasp.
Slum Village make an appearance on "Are you Ready" and CY Young on the "Rebirth". Cruising stuff indeed and the forthcoming LP will feature Jill Scott, Questlove, Sean Stockton from Boys II Men and more. Aiiight!...9/10

 

 

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