The link between rap and jazz has always been more wishful thinking on the part of critics than anything actual, with one grand exception: The Low End Theory. Tribe’s DJ, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, used lots of jazz bass samples (and one notable live contribution from upright master Ron Carter) but the connection was more atmospheric than specific. “Buggin’ Out” and “Check the Rhime” are studies in minimalism that feel like smoky rooms where cool guys, like rappers Phife Dawg and Q-Tip, say cool things. (Phife: “I float like gravity, never had a cavity/Got more rhymes than the Winans got family.” Q-Tip: “If knowledge is the key then just show me the lock/ Got the scrawny legs but move just like Lou Brock”). The album was socially conscious without being dull and closed with “Scenario”, a group free-for-all every bit as hip and improvised as bebop.
Next My Life