A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there wasn’t nary a Hip-Hop album to be found without some sort of jazz influence. Over the years, the increased popularity of dance music and technology combined with the expensive cost of sample clearance did its part in wiping it from the equation. Underground vet and Queens native, Junclassic, links up with U.K. production duo, Jazz Spastiks to reintroduce the fusion with their solid album, Mode 7.
As an orator, Junclassic tends to be inaudible at times. The album’s more upbeat records triggers him into vibe mode to create a few gems on occasion. Lead single “Bust Ya Melon” is evocative of a time MCs were able to captivate listeners without the extra hoopla thrown in the mix. The light melodic piano riffs woven into a Busta Rhymes sample allows the maestro to present the best of mellow and raw raps. The trio’s initial collaboration, “Hot Shit,” is its equal, sparkling with a jazzy rhythm that has Junclassic flowing with ease.
Mode 7 would have served its electric relaxation purpose solely as an instrumental, but mixed with Junclassic’s tranquil voice box, things get a little stagnant midway. “The Essence,” a lethargic melody offset by staccato drums, gives off an underwater effect as Jun stilts his delivery to stay on beat. Elsewhere, he sparks mad izm on “Blunts” with a series of punchlines that don’t go over well (“Little girl with a bad boy fetish, she love to puff”). The ten song set list is great for easy digestion but doesn’t leave a lot of room for trial and error.
If anything, Mode 7 will be remembered for the brief but effective moment when Junclassic decided to wield a pair of jazz instruments in an universe dominated by digital thinkers.
Label: HiPNOTT Records | Producers: Jazz Spastiks