Guru: ‘Streetsoul’

Blessed with innovative production and funky fresh vocals, and super-eclectic...

With the angelic voice of [a]Angie Stone[/a] on the first single, ‘Keep Your Worries’ (drops November 27th), this one-track-example shows off just how fine the collaborations and compositions are on the fourth Jazzmatazz album, ‘Streetsoul’.

This longplayer is blessed with innovative production and funky fresh vocals from an array of new and established talent, including Macy Gray, Kelis and Amel Larrieux. Names like these explain Guru‘s knowledge of prowess and working relationships.

‘Streetsoul’ showcases some of the best production talent to come through of late, from The Neptunes (Kelis) to Jay Dee of Slum Village and The Umaah. And, of course, his partner in Gang Starr, DJ Premier is there too, with ‘Hustlin’ Daze’, featuring Donell Jones, and ‘Where’s My Ladies?’, featuring a crooning Big Shug. The girls are there too, with Erykah Badu producing and scatting on ‘Plenty’.

One stand-out track produced by the aforementioned Jay Dee entitled ‘Certified’, a funky, infectious track which attracts all your attention due to the originality and amazing soul vocals by newcomer Bilal (who debuts on Common‘s ‘Like Water For Chocolate’). Also up in there are Philly favourites The Roots on ‘Lift Your Fist’, and this one’s produced by ?uestlove and James Poyser, whose names are also attached to the last D’Angelo album. There’s also Les Nubians and the UK‘s Craig David, not to mention the legends that are Herbie Hancock and Isaac Hayes.

So this is a super-eclectic album: 16 tracks of hip-hop, soul, funk and, of course, jazz, to influence and inspire. Top of the listening pile without a doubt!

Sally Edwards