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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 fusion of Jazz and Hip Hop back, using the prominent samples from Jazz musicians Jimmy McGriff and John DeJonette, and forward connecting both 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 art and helped elevate the perception Hip Hop by both music academia and the American public.


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