As a child of the 80s, I have a particular fondness for the hip-hop of that period. I can remember the countless hours spent watching Yo! MTV Raps wishing I could one day be as effortlessly brash and cool as some of my heroes. After all, I was an extremely nerdy, painfully shy boy who was obsessed with music and sports – some things don’t change, right? In any case, I remember watching the video for Stetsasonic’s “Talkin’ All That Jazz” all of those years ago and viewing it as one of the great early defenses of hip-hop as an actual art form, rooted in the traditions of jazz, soul and R&B.
Now if you’re a fellow child of the 80s, you’d remember that “Talkin’ All That Jazz” had a very breezy jazz sample based around horns and boom bap drums and flashes of cymbals that in retrospect seemed to be the predecessor of the New Jack Swing period. Kwame and the Polka Dots anyone? You’ll also remember that Stetsasonic also began the emergence of Prince Paul as a producer in his own right – and that eventually, Prince Paul wound up producing some of that era’s biggest albums and singles.
Interestingly, Rhythm Scholar, a producer and DJ who’s been featured here a couple of times – in particular for a slick disco/funk inspired remix of ABC’s “When Smokey Sings” and a psychedelic bluesy take on Eric B. and Rakim’s “In The Ghetto” – remixed Stetsasonic’s classic single. And on the Rhythm Scholar Funksonc Remix, the prolific producer pairs the original vocal track with a funky, keyboard and uptempo 70s-era inspired drum sample that manages to retain the song’s breezy feel and brash spirit – while making the song incredibly danceable.