In my exploration of Hip Hop music I'm somewhat bemused that I missed this record. Guru being one half of legendary Gang Starr, the fusion of Hip Hop and Jazz being a favorite of mine, this record somehow managed to elude me until recently. On this record Guru lays out an interesting approach to the fusion, brining in other established and respected musicians in the Jazz scene such as Donald Byrd to accompany him on the record. Initially I anticipated the Jazz aspect to take a bigger role in the direction of this record because of these collaborative artists, however it turned out not to be so.
The Hip Hop formula is prevalent here with drum loops, samples and verses carving each song into 4 minute tracks with the commonplace verse chorus formula. Many of the Jazz instrumentals feel sampled or looped, with only a few spare moments for the guest musicians to take the lead, not quite what i initially expected, but certainly not a problem, this is an enjoyable record, but one that utilizes the vibes and styling of Jazz into the Hip Hop mold.
Guru is average by his standard this record, theres many enjoyable verses and moments throughout, but nothing that quite sparks and sticks in the mind like some of his raps with Gang Starr. Theres also a great guest appearance from French Rapper MC Solaar. Despite not understanding a word he says, his voice and flow are indulging. The shine on this record comes from the beats and relation to the Jazz element, with the memorable tracks made by the instrumentals. Overall a very enjoyable fusion of to style I'm fond of, but far from being anything exceptional.
Favorite Tracks: Down The Backstreets, Le Bien, Le Mal