I'm really, really digging Madlib's latest CD Shades Of Blue. It's a wonderful collection of what I like to call "jazz-hop" by a bonafide beat maker, or shall I say, hip-hop maestro. Madlib did some serious crate-digging and raided the vaults of Blue Note Records to come up with 12 of his favorite jazz songs to remix. Listening to Shades of Blue, it reminds me of Guru's old Jazzmatazz compilations (both Volumes 1 and 2), which I truly enjoyed from the GangStarr frontman.
My music review on Madlib's CD is on the way. I'm going to combine it with another review of jazz trumpeter Russell Gunn 's equally pleasing jazz-hop disc Ethnomusicology, Volume 3. These two artists have a lot in common but come from two different musical spectrums. I highly recommend both CDs.
But back to producer-extraordinaire Madlib:
I can't wait to hear Madlib's next project. This is hip-hop at its finest. Check it:
Producers Madlib and Jay Dee have collaborated together on a project called JayLib, which will be release on Stone Throws Records sometime in the fall.
The JayLib project is a conceptual album – it draws on the production and lyrical talents of sonic-crafters Jay Dee (who has produced tracks for A Tribe Called Quest, Slum Village and Dwele) and Madlib (who has produced tracks for the Alkaholiks, and indie stalwarts Lootpack, Yesterdays New Quintet and MF Doom). Jay will produce one half of the record with Madlib spitting rhymes on all of the songs. On the other half, Madlib's production will be featured and J-Dilla (Jay Dee) will spit rhymes on those tracks.
The first single from the compilation is "Official" b/w "The Red" and it's a dope introduction to what I believe will be an awesome album. The b-side "The Red" is produced by Jay Dee with Madlib spitting rhymes or rather taunts at fake thug MCs who don't have any lyrical skills. The banger is getting mad airplay on commercial radio out on the west coast – probably because the beat resembles Dr. Dre's G-funk vibes. Nonetheless, it's an awesome head-nodding inducing track. On "Official," J-Dilla is rhyming over Madlib's jazzy-looped track. It's not a headbanger, but it's definitely a toe-tapper. The JayLib project will definitely show that Stones Throw Records is one of the most innovative record labels out in today's indie (undie?) rap circles. More importantly, it also shows that Jay Dee and Madlib are two underrated but never-duplicated super producers in the music game right now.
I can't wait for this album to come out.
In the meantime, here's a nice interview with Madlib and fellow producer Profuse 73 in XLR8R magazine. Check it out:
Madlib (known to his close homies as Otis Jackson Jr.) and Prefuse 73 (the main production alias of soft-spoken Scott Herren) are changing the sound of hip-hop by pushing the boundaries of modern production. Between Prefuse’s trademark staccato push-button edit style and Madlib’s dubbed-out jazz loops and dirty drums, these cats are revolutionizing sampled music with each new project.
I nominate Madlib for Producer of the Year.
These ears don't lie, y'all!