Review Summary: Should be a lot better, but all this proves is Guru is an overrated rapper and the Jazzmatazz series was a failure since the start.Jazzmatazz
is, if this reviewer were to admit one thing, quite ambitious. Mixing jazz with rap into Acid Jazz is a great thing when accomplished properly, and usually works well when attempted. Early 90s NY rap aspired to attempt to make their music at least semi-jazz influenced, and it usually worked, and Guru of Gang Starr was the most ambitious in this, mixing full out live jazz with his monotone rapping. Now, under most instances, this would be a fabulous idea, but the fact is, every volume of Jazzmatazz
has been undeniably boring. How is this possible? Volume one seems to explain it all.
Guru consistently uses internal rhymes, and attempts to punch in as many poetical devices and lyrical photo-shopping to cover up the fact that he is saying absolutely nothing. Now normally that wouldn’t be a problem for rap albums, but in this case he’s taking on the face of a socially conscious artist trying to revive hip hop, and it’s hard to hear the real heart in his rapping. That mixed in with his monotone vocal and back broken delivery, and we get a boring MC who doesn’t know what to do.
To compliment the boring MC is equally boring jazz backdrops. Saxophones whine, beats trample, bass is grooving, and instead of drenching the album in atmosphere that is usually affected by jazz, is just dully plodding through. The guest vocals sing wearily over these ‘cool’ tracks, and give off even more of a wearing effect to an already worn out effort. Jazzmatazz
, no doubt, is technically proficient both musically and lyrically, but the problems arise when actual substance or atmosphere arise, and this album creates neither of the two. What we get is a boring effort that definitely could be a lot more. DJ Premier is the true starr of Gang Starr, not Guru.