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We Got the Jazz: A Tribe Called Quest and the Fusion of Jazz and Hip Hop

Over the last few decades, Jazz and Hip-hop have entered into a symbiotic relationship that has profoundly changed both genres. Through an examination of the 1991 music video for “Jazz (We’ve Got) Buggin’ Out” by A Tribe Called Quest, we can trace the early fusion of Jazz and Hip Hop back to their use of prominent samples from Jazz musicians Jimmy McGriff and John DeJonette, and forward through the sparse and laid-back Jazz instrumentation and the light and funny, yet socially conscious vocal delivery of some of the most critically acclaimed and popular modern rappers like Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole. While this specific video was not critically important on its own, the two songs in it provide some of the most clear and interesting examples of the connection between the two genres that both solidified Hip Hop’s place in a historical lineage of music and helped elevate perceptions of Hip Hop by both music academics and the American public.

 

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