By Alvin Blanco
Jay Electronica respects his elders.
Jay-Z’s latest Roc Nation recruit dropped a new song on Tuesday (December 7) called "Jazzmatazz" that serves as a tribute to the late Keith "Guru" Elam of seminal hip-hop group Gang Starr. The song takes its title from the Gang Starr MC’s Jazzmatazz side projects where the Boston-born rapper blurred the lines between hip-hop and Jazz music.
Jay Electronica, who currently resides in Brooklyn by way of New Orleans, drops a typically lyrically dense performance over a soulful guitar loop. The song’s beat should be familiar to devout Gang Starr Foundation followers since it’s the same groove (a sample of "Yesterday" by Jazz musician Wes Montgomery) used on the "Intro" song of Group Home’s debut album, Livin’ Proof, which was produced by DJ Premier and Guru and released in 1995.
"I dig the early-1990's vibe of the song," says Branden J. Peters, of Kuhvet.com. "The abrupt way Jay Elect ends the second verse is super raw and I like that as well. Flow wise the song is like a follow up to ‘Exhibit C,’ which is cool from a stylistic point of view."
Style, along with topically intricate rhymes, is something longtime Jay Electronica fans should be used to. Even in what is supposed to be a homage to a fallen hip-hop legend.
"Jay Electronica's ‘Jazzmatazz’ is an interesting Guru tribute," says Gedi Dabakaeri, Managing Editor of PotholesInMyBlog. "The song is broken up into three parts. The MLK speech is the intro/eulogy. The first verse describes Guru's musical journey from Boston to NYC and last verse describes his dealings with Solar. In between his commentary he injects these religious or spiritual references to give you a visual. Lyrically, Jay is a cross between a shaman and the Oracle from the 'Matrix' movies. It's all very layered and forces you to pay attention which is always refreshing in an era where formulaic or call and response records are more popular."
Interestingly, the song will not be appearing on Electronica’s debut album, Act 2: Patents Of Nobility (The Turn), due sometime in 2011. But actually, that may fit the enigmatic rapper’s M.O.; releasing music whenever he damn well pleases.
"Unfortunately for Jay Electronica people forgot what quality music sounds like so only the heads will even react to this song dropping," reasons Dart Adams of Bloggerhouse.net and ProducersIKnow.com. "Everyone else will be just complaining about the newest version of ‘Black & Yellow’ that just hit the Internets instead. It's too bad because this is dope. It's reminiscent of the kind of material he dropped via FWMJ's RappersIKnow.com & Classic Drug References years ago."