Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sing Along With The Jaz

Remember, back in the day, when Jaz used to give interviews and he'd say, well, he was only so invested in this hip-hop thing, because he was also a singer? You know which Jaz I'm talking about, right? Jay-Z's sometimes partner/ sometimes bitter rival, "Hawaiian Sophie," D&D Project, "The Originators," later changed his name to Big Jaz and Jaz-O? Yeah, him. Well, this is that singing record.

This comes well before "Hawaiian Sophie." It's his first solo record, although he did do the High Potent record the year (rapping). But this is the first record flat out by The Jaz. It dropped in 1987 and was actually put out by Tommy Boy Records. And, yeah, he's straight singing through the whole thing... he doesn't even drop in one of those perfunctory Bobby Brown mini-raps during the breakdown.

So, how does he sound? Well, his voice sounds just the same as you've heard on all his hip-hop albums. And he doesn't have great range... plus, he's a little atonal. Or maybe just off-key. I think it's safe to say when he went back to rap he found his true calling.

But wait; I like this record! No, I really like this record. It's co-produced by The Jaz and Fresh Gordon, who's always been hit or miss. And it's straight 80's, no doubt. It's almost freestyle, but not quite. So, don't get me wrong; you might really hate this. But if you like records like Dino's "Summer Girls" or "Barbara's Bedroom" by Whistle, then this is right up your alley, and a really nice example of how this style of record was done. It's a funky bassline, bongo drums, hand claps, keyboards, sound effects played on a synthesizer... There's even a little electric guitar at key points. I guess the word for this one would be "bouncey."

Lyrically, the concept's simple, too. He's in love (natch) and isn't willing to share her with another guy who keeps coming between them.

If you're in your 20's or younger, you should probably just steer clear. Check out "I Believe In Music" instead. But me? I've got this cued up right after DJ Stef's 80's freestyle mix on my ipod. =)

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