Various Artists - Hip Hop Forever III, Mixed by Jazzy Jeff
Thu 4th Jan, 2007 Music Reviewsin
As far as hip hop mixes go you really can’t get better than this. One of the genre’s true mavericks, DJ Jazzy Jeff, puts together a peerless blend of gritty beats and furious wordplay that spans three decades of hip hop and is, as expected from someone spinnin’ the platters for over 20 years, like aural molasses. Jazzy comes more from the Premier/Pete Rock school of mixing, where actually letting a jam play for more than 1 minute is perfectly ok, and not inundating a mix with endless juggling and crab scratching is mandatory.
It is very New York-centric; you can almost smell the sewers and hear the distant slapping of high fives as you imagine it seeping out of countless SUV stereos circling the backstreets of Brooklyn or Harlem. Jazzy explodes into the mix with a Biz Markie cut before the lazy THC soaked organ of The Pharcyde’s ‘Passing Me By’ submerges the mix into a rolling, low slung journey that hits a measured – but magic – bracket of jaw dropping underground hip hop. Starting with Lil Brothers’ ‘Whatever You Say’ and ending with Slum Village’s sublime ‘Players’, it takes in Masta Ace, Large Professor and Big L. That 20 minutes or so is truly mesmerising and sounds fresher than anything out there. It also makes you realise how some of the unsung names in hip hop are sorely missed.
Gangstarr, Tribe and Mobb Deep all appear with big classic cuts that take the mix into block party territory. Black Moon’s classic ‘Who Got the Props’ almost brings a misty tear to the eye, and when Jazzy scratches the incomparable Main Source’s ‘Lookin At The Front Door’, you realise you are hearing a mix compiled with love. ‘Hip Hop Forever’ indeed.