This is so fisty cated. Yeh, that’s right, you heard me. This and the new Handsome Boy Modeling School. The genesis of rap/hip hop, like the genesis of punk, placed function over form. Raw expression was (and in many ways, still is) the name of the game, and whatever musical accouterments you added came from what you had at hand. A crappy guitar, your parents’ turntable…
The Jungle Brothers’ history stretches back, if not to those origins then far enough to give them historical status. Their reverence for the musical forms is undiminished and their passion for innovation continues — yet this is one of the most accessible records I’ve heard in a while, rap/hip hop/urban or not. Mixing old school, soul, jazz, blues and a variety of other elements may be nothing new to today’s mix-and-match music industry, but the JBeez make it sound easy . “I Remember” (featuring the Holmes Brothers) is a strolling number spiced by a gospel chorus and a fond look at the olde dayes. “Early Morning,” with a slight Latin feel and a fun-kay groove, rocks like a hammock. The opening “V.I.P.” pokes fun at makin’ it, and has this little rolling piano thing in the chorus that I can’t really describe, but is worth noting. This is music that escapes quick categorization beyond stating that it’s universally good . Something for everyone in here, except maybe my black metal friends.