Guru has already made an apparition in our playlist with his amazing track Loungin'. It was long overdue for me to bring up Gang Starr too, the legendary duo he was a part of along with DJ Premier; and of course I chose a track that's super representative of the sound of Music to Dali & Jay Z Lovers (check our manifesto here if you haven't).
Jazz Thing pays homage to the OGs of jazz music -- actually, Gang Starr goes way deeper than that, praising the African whose sounds were "plantin' the seeds of a jazz thing".
This track is a real history class, and it makes it easy to understand (for anyone that didn't know it already) why genres such as rap, R&B, and, frankly, pretty much all of the popular music genres of today owe everything to African-American music. The roots are not the mistery, "the real mistery is how music history, created by Whiteman or any other white man that pretended he originated and contended that he innovated a jazz thing" ... Oops, lol.
But yeah, where was I?
Oh, yes, the mentions of so many jazz legends let us know how close Jazz & hip hop are. I especially love the Betty Carter reference: "She's takin' her time, makin' the nuances rhyme..."
You could even think, if you didn't know Miss Betty was a Jazz singer, that they're talking about a lady rapping!
It also reminds me of Rakim, who got inspiration from John Coltrane (another Jazz legend mentioned in Jazz Thing) to create his flow... Like, wtf... He wanted to rap like a saxophone? Genius! Mind-blowing.
Indeed, Jazz is such a rich genre, no wonder it manages to inspire and influence hip hop (and many other genres) until today. That's why Gang Starr's lyrics remain valid when they say "Jazz ain't the past, this music's gonna last", even though this song is from 1990. There's even a part of the lyrics where they say: "The 90's, will be the decade of a jazz thing". And were they wrong?
Jazz rap, as a trend, didn't actually last during the whole decade of 1990. Other styles, like gangsta rap, were born and/or had their rise in that decade. But above all, no other decade had yet seen such growth for African-American genres in the mainstream (rap, R&B and hip hop) before. So I guess yes, Gang Starr's prediction was right: it was a jazz thing kind of decade after all, and that's still the time we live in.
You can learn more about Gang Starr here:
About the curator: Ana Clara Ribeiro
Music, art and entertainment have always played a big role in the life of Ana Clara Ribeiro. She grew up in Gurupi (an inland city in Tocantins, the youngest State of Brazil), listening to all kinds of music, reading, writing, watching stuff and connecting them to her personal beliefs and other ideas she read about.
As she became a lawyer and a writer, all the topics to which she is constantly exposed continued to give her insights about life, people and the universe, through the lenses of art.
Nowadays, when she isn’t analyzing lawsuits or producing content about Law, Marketing, Business or Music, she is certainly doing something related to her various personal and professional projects, always to the sound of a playlist as eclectic as her life.