Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Guru - Jazzmatazz Volume II: The New Reality 2xLP - Orange Vinyl & Purple Vinyl


Vinyl Me Please (2018, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

I was a huge fan of the first Guru Jazzmatazz record.  In no small part because of how much of a Gang Starr fan I was.  Jazzmatazz Volume II came out in 1995, which is where the dark ages of hip hop starts for me.  I'm aware of so few hip hop records that came out after 1994 as I pretty much completely moved away from it.  That's mostly just due to the shifts in sounds and not being able to find what I was looking for anymore.

But, I recently decided to give this album a shot, as I never listened to it when it originally came out.  And you know what, it's pretty good.  It isn't as good as any of the Gang Starr records or the first Jazzmatazz record, but those are all pretty high bars to try to reach.  But listening to it in 2022, while not being in the thick of hip hop falling to pieces, I'm able to just listen to it as a new record.

As it turns out Volume II is a pretty solid hip hop record.  It still sounds like the golden era to me, though there's an over reliance of R&B singers providing crooned hooks.  I don't really need that as I've never been a fan of that sort of thing, but the strength of the beats make up for it.  No surprise that they're very jazzy, but they still have a pretty strong boom bap vibe, even if it's a bit lower key than most.

I missed the boat when Vinyl Me Please reissued this back in 2018, so I did have to pay collector prices for a copy, but I found a really good deal on this one and didn't really over pay too much, especially since VMP pressing tend to be pretty expensive to begin with.

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