Anyone tired of hip-hop’s “gangstafication” has had it rough at the record store this year. It seemed the age of slick jazz samples, mellow vibes and higher-mindedness had all but drowned in (or become inebriated on) the 40-ounce bottle of thug-rap.
Enter Fat Jon (aka John Marshall). Marshall helped found the rap-collective Wannabattle Crew. This spawned Mood, the Lone Catalysts, DJ/producer J. Rawls and Five Deez, which features Marshall and fellow DJ/emcee Pase at its center.
The latest from Five Deez, “Koolmotor,” spins turntablism around electronic music and live jazz. Traces of The Roots, A Tribe Called Quest and The Pharcyde are felt in samples of acoustic guitar, orchestras and lots of Verve wax. Five Deez’s sampling judgment is sound, too: F.J. and Pase use some riffs in their original state, while dissecting and reinterpreting others. The bass-heavy tracks are broken up by several acid-jazz jams with keyboards, and congas and a cameo by Japanese rapper Shing02.
Read the full review at The Japan Times Online.