Yasiin Gaye – The Departure: Side One

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From producer Amerigo Gazaway’s “Soul Mates” series comes an amazing new project that marries the 90’s rap tracks of Yasiin Bey, better known as rapper Mos Def, with the soulful melodies from none other than Mr. Marvin Gaye.  “Soul Mates” carries a theme of creating collaborations that never were.  In the newest addition to the series, entitled Yasiin Gate – The Departure: Side One, Gazaway re-orchestrates deconstructed samples of Gaye’s Motown classics to create the basis for this project.  He entwines these orchestrations with Bey’s classic hip-hop verses and Gaye’s unmistakable voice to create a mash-up unlike anything we’ve heard before. This project was not only brilliant in conception, but the execution is flawless.  Gaye’s smooth and sensual vibes and Bey’s deep lyrics sound like they were meant for one another.  For those who don’t know, Bey or Mos Def, was a prominent rapper in the 1990’s.  Based in Brooklyn, NY, Bey partnered with Talib Kweli in the late 90’s to form rap-duo Blackstar.  Together, they produced rap hits including “Resipration and “Definition.”  As for Mr. Marvin Gaye, if you haven’t heard some of his most famous hits such as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” or “Let’s Get It On” – then you need to YouTube these right now.  Some of the most iconic melodies of the 1960’s came from this soul-legend, and they find a new dimension in Yasiin Gaye.  There is a definitely a vintage feel to it, the groovy melodies of the 60’s meshed with concrete Brooklyn verses are strangely feel-good, and it’ll bring you back. One track that demonstrates this quite well is “Definition of Infinity” featuring Talib Kweli.  It features a set of jazz instrumentals including several horns, a saxophone, and drums, with splashes of spoken verses thrown in.  This is something you’ll find in many of the songs, spoken words dropped in every now and then, many of them reminiscent of a retro news broadcast coming from an old-fashioned television.  In addition to Kweli, the album features artists such as Tammi Terrell and Kanye West.

To put it bluntly, you may want to break out your old denim overalls and a pair of Chuck Taylors to groove to this fantastic set of tunes.  The best part, the entire album is free.  Yes.  You can listen to and download this wonderful collection of 13 mash-ups to end all mash-ups for free here.  Gazaway’s unique conception of 90’s rap intertwined with 60’s soul comes to life here with one of the most original and well-executed projects I’ve seen in a while – you’d only be cheating yourself if you didn’t check it out!

Laura YooHip-Hop, Rap