DJ Jazzy Jeff - The Magnificent
Original Release Date: August 13, 2002
For Da Love of Da Game
How I Do
Break it Down
Rock Wit U
Rock Wit U
- 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.
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."
"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
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
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
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
By Todd Inoue
Dj Jazzy Jeff
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.
DJ Jazzy Jeff
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.
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.
Recalls the early '90s work of A Tribe Called Quest. [Sep
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]
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]
'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
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
CDNOW Contributing Writer
DJ Jazzy Jeff - The Magnificent (BBE/Creative
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.....
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.
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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