The third installment of Guru's celebrated Jazzmatazz series is all about soul. With names like Erykah Badu, Macy Gray, Amel Larrieux, and Les Nubians on board this time around, Streetsoul is a perfect, breezy soundtrack f... more »or all seasons. Lyrically, Guru departs from the streetwise righteousness of Gang Starr and instead focuses on affairs of the heart. The Roots lend a typically sparse beat and rhymes to "Lift Your Fist," and the old-school heads will appreciate guest spots by Herbie Hancock and Isaac Hayes. A bouncy flurry of strings and the gorgeous Angie Stone hook of "Keep Your Worries" ensures Streetsoul some crossover success. Check the opener, "Certified," for the versatile stylings of newcomer Bilal and a funky, feel-good beat from Slum Village minimalist Jay Dee. Though the production occasionally strays into more generic territory, there's enough of interest here for even the most dedicatedly anti-jiggy. --Hua Hsu« less
The third installment of Guru's celebrated Jazzmatazz series is all about soul. With names like Erykah Badu, Macy Gray, Amel Larrieux, and Les Nubians on board this time around, Streetsoul is a perfect, breezy soundtrack for all seasons. Lyrically, Guru departs from the streetwise righteousness of Gang Starr and instead focuses on affairs of the heart. The Roots lend a typically sparse beat and rhymes to "Lift Your Fist," and the old-school heads will appreciate guest spots by Herbie Hancock and Isaac Hayes. A bouncy flurry of strings and the gorgeous Angie Stone hook of "Keep Your Worries" ensures Streetsoul some crossover success. Check the opener, "Certified," for the versatile stylings of newcomer Bilal and a funky, feel-good beat from Slum Village minimalist Jay Dee. Though the production occasionally strays into more generic territory, there's enough of interest here for even the most dedicatedly anti-jiggy. --Hua Hsu
"Ok, I admit it...as far as soulful music goes, this year has been an utter and complete disappointment. The poor quality and formulaic construction of both Joe and Boyz II Men's albums (YES i did say that, now i want ANYONE to respond that they were better than the old albums by the same artists) has brought me to almost refute the entire genre, the only thing i look forward to now is the K-ci and jojo album in december with a new jodeci track! But despite that fact, Guru's third Jazzmatazz effort comes through in a brilliant way, successfully hybridizing soul with hip-hop and a tinge of jazz. This Jazzmatazz appeals to a wider audience than the first two editions did; the focus is hip-hop with a message, and the soulful influences are not forced onto the listener, but mainly an additional musical layer. Standout tracks are "Keep Your Worries", "Hustlin Daze", "Guidance", and "Timeless". Guru has successfully stepped out of the shadow of Gangstarr and proves that he can create an entire album that is extremely listenable, almost never slipping up even without DJ Premier's reliable sonic background. In fact, this album simply increases the anticipation for the next Gangstarr album; it's very good to hear Guru's confident rhymes again, and it's also very comforting to know he hasn't forgotten any of his soulful hip-hop roots unlike artists such as the Boyz, Joe, and Sisqo. A thoroughly enjoyable album from start to finish, and one of the best albums of the year!"
Quality material, but not jazz
Scott Esposito | Oakland, CA United States | 01/17/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"3.5 StarsThe standout track on this album, Plenty, shows us what Jazzmatazz could have been. This 6th track pairs Guru with Erykah Badu (with the beat produced by the ever soulful Badu), and it delivers on the promise implicit in such a collaboration. Over a beat which can best be described as a near perfect fusion of jazz sounds and hip-hop drums Guru and Badu playfully speak with one another, Guru through his rap dialect, Badu with her eloquent voice. If Jazzmatazz had delivered 15 tracks in this vein it would have been a masterpiece. It didn't.The main problem with this album (and partly why Plenty stands out as much as it does) is that for an album named "Jazzmatazz," there isn't a whole lot of jazz going on. Instead of finding lesser-known artists who truly make jazz music, Guru has acquired quite popular artists, some of which can only tenuously be described as soul singers or jazz artists.The feel of this album can be readily summed up in the song Hustlin' Daze. This song is standard Guru material; as such it is definitely quality, but it nothing outstanding that we have not heard before. DJ Premeir produces a nice beat and Donnell Jones provides a servicable hook. Over this backdrop Guru delivers three verses which are not outstanding, but better than most verses out there. Like Hustlin' Daze the rest of the album is good material, but rarely becomes outstanding. Further, like Hustlin' Daze most of the album is hip hop disguised as jazz by only the thinnest of masks (in the case of Hustlin' Daze my best guess is that the presence of Donnell Jones was the jazz element, although that's not really too jazzy). And lastly, like Hustlin' Daze this album, while good, is not outstanding and is not anything we haven't heard before.All this isn't to say that Jazzmatazz isn't a nice listen. There are plenty of good tracks which will require heavy rotation. Keep Your Worries, Certified, Plenty, Night Vision, and Timeless are all high in quality. The rest of the album (with the exception of the Roots track, a major disappointment) is far from filler material.While the album is nice, it definitely falls short; it makes me wish that Guru hadn't included Plenty on the album. The quality of that track tells me that if Guru had put his mind to it Jazzmatazz could have been a near-classic, if not a classic, which trully bridged the gap between jazz and hip hop and explored a new genre of music. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, that didn't happen and Jazzmatazz, while nice, leaves you wanting something better."
Guru Does It Again
Ryan Mengel | Phoenix, AZ USA | 10/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In Guru's third installment of the Jazzmatazz series, he has not let any one down. You can't skip over one track on this release, or you will miss some serious musical talent. With Jazzmatazz Vol. 1 being more jazzy, and two being a little more hip-hop, number 3 is probably his most hip-hop based CD yet; while incorporating the jazz in it also and it still has a half French song in it just like Vol. 1!!! It is very reminiscent of Gangstarr. This CD is packed with phat beats, deep lyrics, and some killer instrumentals!!!"
Guru brings the soul......
Elliot | NYC | 10/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Suup y'all. This new Guru Jazzmatazz: StreetSoul is one of the most solid LPs of 2000. I know that the second one may have lacked focus in ceratin areas, and peeps who liked the first one may have written him off, but this third installment is a great example of how compilations should be. The artists/producers on this album are the who's who of the present day hip hop/soul/jazz world. Joints like "Lift Ya Fist" and "Hustlin' Daze" keeps the album on the hip hop tip, but soul creations like "Certified" and "Guidance" smooth the album out. There is even a very jazzy joint entitled "Plenty" in which Erykah Badu melts the track with her voice, and Herbie Hancock even lends his talents to the last piece on the album. All in all, this album is mad solid from front to back. A necessity for anyone who is into the neo-soul/smooth hip hop scene that is droppin' right now. Definitely worth the money spent, a few times over. Peace.."
He diserves credit as one of the best MCs
Mauro Ariel Hermida | Rowlett, TX United States | 12/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I do agree that this album was not as jazzed as the first volumes. I do think Guru pimped more in this album, though. He is one of the best three emcees in this business when it comes to smooth lyrics, lyrical skill, longevity, etc. He is a very intellectual rapper with a wonderfully mellow style. I basically bought the album to get more of a taste of the skills. This album is smoothed out. You can just pimp to it with your top down. Almost all of the tracks just flow into one another. And on top of that Guru can flow to any beat he provides. There are plenty of other emcees out there that are great, but they dont flow to every beat on every song. Guru provides that. The only complaint is the lack of actual jazz. This album is definitely more soul than jazz. But I was looking for great music and this is what I got. The person earlier who said Guru was tired was way off beat with this one. He is one of the hardest working men in showbiz outside of KRS-ONE. He has almost ten albums over a decade. And this one is a great one to add to the collection."