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Moving on, one of my favorites tracks so far has been “Profiles” and I thought I’d discuss it here.

ISWHAT?! – “Profiles” (iTunes)

Here is where I think Napoleon, Jack Walker, and Matt Anderson are at their best. Napoleon spits a verse that is the verbal equivalent of weekend people-watching in Washington Square Park. His flow is emphatic and works really well here. The drums knock (we’re spared the beatboxing) and the upright bass is excellent yet again (there’s something about rhyming over an upright bass arrangement that is so hip-hop–no songs are coming to mind, but I know there’s a ton from the golden era). Overall, there’s a cohesiveness to this track that is lacking on some others. It brings the unorthodox and improvisational elements of jazz, and does it without sounding impromptu and slap-dash. It’s polished, but not formulaic. That’s what good hip-hop/jazz fusion should strive for, in my opinion.

And I finally figured out where that sax melody came from, though it didn’t take much digging: Coltrane’s “Giant Steps.” Somewhat coincidentally, I come to the ISWHAT?! album on the heels of a relatively lengthy jazz phase in which I took the time to really dive into Coltrane’s catalog. In some ways, I suspect that this album has been a bridge for me, carrying me back into a steady hip-hop diet over the last few weeks.

John Coltrane – “Giant Steps” (iTunes)

peace…

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