Legendary rapper Nas just dropped a series of outtakes from his four latest albums, 2006’s Hip-Hop Is Dead, 2008’s untitled record, 2012’s Life Is Good, and 2018’s NASIR, under the heading The Lost Tapes II. The highly anticipated project featuring superstar producers RZA, Pharrell, Swizz Beatz, No I.D., Pete Rock, Alchemist, and of course, Kanye West, is of particular interest to us on these pages by the inclusion of its lead single, “Jarreau of Rap (Skatt Attack)”, featuring a sample of Al Jarreau’s “[Round, Round, Round] Blue Rondo a La Turk” off the 1981 record Breakin’ Away (originally composed by Dave Brubeck, but you knew that already) and accentuated by the fiery sounds of Keyon Harrold’s modernistic trumpet. The track is predominantly an exercise in style featuring impressive lyrical gymnastics by Nas and highlighting the intricacies of Brubeck’s original melody in what amounts to an imposing feat of finesse and rhetorical dexterity. I mean, how often do rappers spit in 9/8? More importantly, “Jarreau of Rap (Skatt Attack)” shines a little light on a struggling genre that desperately needs greater mainstream recognition. We sincerely hope it encourages some of Nas’ more adventurous fans to check out Jarreau’s extensive body of work as well as some of the more recent music put out by Harrold and his peers. Stream “Jarreau of Rap (Skatt Attack)” below alongside Al Jarreau’s 1981 rendition of “[Round, Round, Round] Blue Rondo a La Turk”.
The Lost Tapes II, the new album by hip hop legend Nas, is out now on Mass Appeal Records.
Photo by Alexander Laurent.