In case ya’ll didn’t know, Philly has birthed some of the best DJ’s in the world…period. And who REALLY wants to debate that? It’s like Chris Rock said in his “Bigger and Blacker” special, how nothing is gonna scare a kid more than a mom saying, “I’m gonna tell your daddy.” Well, nothing is gonna scare a DJ more than someone saying, “I’m gonna go get Jazzy Jeff!” Jeff has been THAT dude since day one in this hip hop game and has been holding it down behind the wheels for 20+ years. Even after him and Will split ways, Jeff stayed busy helping to turn Philly into the musical hotbed it is by introducing us to a slew of unknown Philly producers (Andre Harris, Vidal Davis, Carvin Higgins, Ivan Barias, Keith Pelzer, Darren Henson)who joined The Touch of Jazz family (Jeff’s production company) and who went on to bang out hits for everyone from Floetry, Musiq, Mary J. Blige and Glenn Lewis to Faith Evans, Usher, Alicia Keys and Michael Jackson. Not to mention Jeff introduced us to Philadelphia’s own musical diva who we ALL know and love, Ms. Jill Scott. So with that quick run down of Jeff’s eye for talent, when I heard he was messing with a new shorty named Ayah outta Toronto who he linked up with on Myspace, I couldn’t wait to hear the magic these two were gonna cook up together. And with their album “Back For More” dropping, it’s like my dude Kevin Hart says, “it’s about to go down.”
“Back For More” sets things off using the Art of Noise’s “Moments In Love” and has the whole Johnny Kemp “Just Got Paid” feel good vibe going on. On “Notorious”, Jeff’s horns and bassline and Ayah’s voice mesh perfectly and “One Life” will take listeners back to the days of Tribe Called Quest’s “The Love.” “Tables Turn” tells the ill story of unequally yoked relationship and “Telephone” has Jeff freaking one of the illest guitar samples I’ve heard in years that dares you to not nod your head. “Baby” is the story of a shorty leaving home to follow her dreams and the price she has to pay to try to make those dreams come true. But the two jawns that have stayed on repeat since I first heard them are “Make It Last” and “Forgive Me Love.” Now, at first I figured I’d hate both songs because “Make It Last” samples Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me” and “Forgive me Love” samples the Isley Brother’s “Highway of My Life” that Jeff already used on his “Return of the Magnificent” album and I’m like “come on Jeff…you’re using a sample you JUST used AND you’re sampling “Mercy Mercy Me?” You don’t touch that!” But maaaaan…did Ayah make BOTH of those songs her own! After about a minute into “Make It Last” I forgot all about my beef with Jeff touching Marvin! The song is just SO dope, you can’t help but to put sampling etiquette to the side and just enjoy good music. And “Forgive Me Love” follows suit and will have you singing the chorus “So if you say that we can make up, would it be ok if I could stay here with you?” LONG after the song is over. And when Jeff lets the whole sample ride after the bridge is done?!?!?! They don’t call my dude the magnificent for nothing!
The other day I was thinking, “how did we survive without the internet?” How would we get directions to places? I guess we’d have to (God forbid) ask someone to ask. How would we get our news? We’d REALLY have to wait until 5pm, 10pm and 11pm to find out what’s been going on? How would we buy our music, books and movies? We’d have to actually get up and go to the store? Crazy. And if we didn’t have the internet, there’d be no myspace, which means, Jeff and Ayah wouldn’t have linked up and we wouldn’t have our FREE soundtrack to the summer of 2011! Thank God for the internet…
4 outta 5