DJ Jazzy Jeff: The Return Of The Magnificent

Don’t call it a comeback. As one of the few DJs who can seamlessly transition from mainstream to underground while still remaining relevant today as a producer and turntablist, Grammy winner DJ Jazzy Jeff needs no introduction. Jeff returns with a refreshing soul-influenced album sure to whet the palates of those craving a dose of innovative Hip-Hop. The Return of The Magnificent (BBE/Rapster) picks up where Jeff’s 2001 debut The Magnificent left off.The sound is still heavily influenced by funk, soul and jazz but this time the array of artists are much more impressive. The lineup includes heavy-hitters like Rhymefest, Pos (of De La Soul), Method Man, J-Live, Big Daddy Kane and Peedi Peedi (bka Peedi Crack), all of who do not disappoint on this solid effort. While Jeff’s tracks are undeniably the main attraction, The Return’s strength also lies in the guest appearances. Many of the artists drop verses that remind you of why you copped their past albums in the first place (exemplified by “Hold It Down” featuring Method Man), making this an enjoyable LP from beginning to end.Standouts include J-Live’s smooth ode “Practice”, where the underground favorite spits introspective flows over a funky synth track (peace to Donald Byrd) and “All I Know” where CL Smooth shines over twinkling piano riffs and bass while asserting why he’s “the real Soul Survivor”. Other gems include the Gang Starr channeling “Jeff n Fess” featuring Rhymefest and the old-school-esque “Brand New Funk 2k7” featuring a focused Peedi Crack. Rounding out the LP are laidback grooves such as the seductive “Touch Me with Your Handz” featuring ChinahBlac and the Raheem Devaughn-assisted “My Soul Ain’t For Sale”, both of which satisfy the sophisticated audience but don’t sound out of place among the Hip-Hop tracks. Although the highs outweigh the low moments, The Return still suffers from a few missteps. While the hunger of lesser-known rappers like Twone Gabz (“Hip-Hop”) and Eshon Burgundy & Black Ice (“Run That Back”) is admirable, they don’t spit any memorable material. As a result, they become overshadowed by Jeff’s remarkable production. However, energetic newcomer Kel Spencer breaks this pattern on the head-nodding “The Definition”, where with a slick, witty flow he attempts to show he’s what the game is missing.Overall, DJ Jazzy Jeff serves up a first-rate Hip-Hop album that celebrates the old, the new and today’s music, making it worth copping. As the appetite increases for more meaningful, innovative Hip-Hop, DJ Jazzy Jeff satisfies that hunger with The Return of the Magnificent.