Jazzy hip hop has been around since the Golden Age, with artists like Pete Rock and A Tribe Called Quest thrusting the genre-fusion to the forefront of music society. The blend of two beautiful genres has continued through the years, most notably with artists like J Dilla, J. Rawls, and more. On this album, entitled Hipology by the Visioneers, one can hear the euphoric sounds of hip hop and jazz come together on one wonderful, musical concoction. Do not mistake the Visioneers for a group, however, as the creator of Visioneers, Marc Mac states that “[it’s] not a band it’s a studio project.” The project known as Visioneers features Brad Somatik, drummer Luke Parkhouse and rappers Capitol A and Voice. Visioneers first kicked open the door with their debut release of Dirty Old Hip Hop which was met with praise from the underground. Now, they follow that album up with this one, cleverly called Hipology.
On first take, it is very easy to accept the influential jazz notes that fuse with the hip hop beats and breaks, as well as classic rap samples. The most notable aspect of this album to me is that it really provides a more intriguing run at the jazzy hip hop fusion; it imparts some Golden Era hip hop samples, along with more than just your average, run-of-the-mill horn sample. With vocal breaks, beat breaks, electronic breaks, this entire album breaks up songs indefinitely to make the song into one glorious whole, oddly enough. The live drums are also a very nice touch (my favorite part of the album).
“Apache (Battle Dub)” sets the stage for Hipology with some real obscure sounds. Really spacey at first, the track transforms from some shouts and chants over vinyl static to one dope jazz break. Some smooth vocals provided by Baron and TRAC come in on track three (“Back In Time”). The album follows through very smooth transitions which really create a nice solidarity to the album and help to develop and support a common sound and theme throughout the record. Some of my favorite tracks include “Swahililand,” “LuAnne from Harlem,” and “Oil & Water (feat. Notes to Self)” because, although they really showcase the wonders and uniqueness of jazzy hip hop, they don’t take you back, rather, they propel you forward to a hopeful future for a currently underappreciated subgenre.
This album truly supports the jazzy hip hop genre and provides a good tribute to the ones who started it way back when. From beat breaks, to classic horn samples, to varied up jazz sounds played live from the heart, this album is truly a keeper for those who are tried and true fans of the legendary blend of jazz and hip hop. Visioneers do it again with Hipology and prove that hip hop is more than rhyming in a microphone over a computer beat. Praise for Hipology!
MP3: Visioneers “Swahililand”
Buy: iTunes or Insound! vinyl