If you are a fan of jazz and hip-hop, you might have heard of the Unwrapped series by Hidden Beach Recordings. This series features instrumental versions of popular rap and R&B songs, performed by some of the best jazz musicians in the industry. The seventh installment, Unwrapped Vol. 7: Back 2 Basics, was released in 2010 and features classics like "Empire State of Mind", "Forever", "Best I Ever Had" and more.
What makes this album stand out from the previous ones is the return to the live band format, after experimenting with electronic sounds and loops in Unwrapped Vol. 6. The result is a more organic and dynamic sound that showcases the talents of the musicians and the arrangements. The album also features guest appearances by rapper Common, singer Lalah Hathaway and saxophonist Mike Phillips, adding more flavor and diversity to the mix.
Some of the highlights of the album are:
"Empire State of Mind", which transforms the Jay-Z and Alicia Keys anthem into a smooth jazz groove with a catchy piano riff and a soulful sax solo.
"Forever", which turns the Drake and Kanye West collaboration into a funky jam with a tight horn section and a rap verse by Common.
"Best I Ever Had", which gives the Drake hit a romantic twist with a mellow guitar melody and a sultry vocal by Lalah Hathaway.
"Run This Town", which rocks the Jay-Z, Rihanna and Kanye West track with a powerful drum beat and a blazing sax solo by Mike Phillips.
If you are looking for a fresh and innovative way to enjoy some of your favorite hip-hop and R&B songs, you should definitely check out Unwrapped Vol. 7: Back 2 Basics. It is a perfect blend of jazz and rap that will appeal to both genres' fans. You can find it on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and other streaming platforms.
The Unwrapped series was created by Hidden Beach Recordings in 2001, as a way to bridge the gap between jazz and hip-hop. The label's founder, Steve McKeever, wanted to expose the younger generation to the rich legacy of jazz music and its influence on rap and R&B. He also wanted to challenge the jazz musicians to reinterpret the contemporary songs in their own style and improvise on them.
Unwrapped Vol. 7: Back 2 Basics is one of the most popular and well-received albums in the series. It was produced by Tony Joseph and Rex Rideout, who have worked with artists like Luther Vandross, Mary J. Blige and Will Smith. The album features a stellar lineup of musicians, such as keyboardist Patrice Rushen, bassist Alex Al, drummer Gorden Campbell, guitarist Paul Jackson Jr., percussionist Lenny Castro and more. The album also showcases the skills of DJ Dummy, who adds scratches and cuts to some of the tracks. aa16f39245