DJ Jazzy Jeff can do no wrong in my book. He's EASILY one of the dopest DJ's EVER (if not the dopest), he was a part of the hip hop group that help put my city on the map and won hip hop's first grammy. And even after Will went on to become one of the biggest stars on the planet, Jeff not only stayed busy getting thrown outta Uncle Phil's crib but by also putting together his production team A Touch of Jazz which is one of the dopest production crews of the 2000's touching everything from Jill Scott, Usher, Musiq, Faith Evans and Floetry to Michael Jackson, Melanie Fiona, Mary J. Blige Anthony Hamilton and Glenn Lewis. And speaking of the latter, last Saturday I woke up and saw a FB post of Jeff dropping jewels to Glenn Lewis, Eric Roberson and countless others on the record industry and how musicians need to be like Dilla and die empty. Eventually I found out that Jeff had invited some of the illest producers, songwriters, singers, musicians and engineers to his crib to create, record, mix and master an album in a week. Hold tight did he just say a week? I mean, anybody can do all of that in a week and make some subpar music but come on ya'll, this is Jazzy Jeff we're talking about! So that means this dude is trying to do all of that AND not just make a dope album but make an incredible piece of music that's gonna give you goosebumps? That's a pretty tall order. But if I had to bet money on anybody who could pull it off, it would mos def be Jeff and the host of folk he called (which includes James Poyser, Avery Sunshine, Rich Medina, Eric Roberson, Jeff Bradshaw, Tall Black Guy, Stroe Elliott, Dre & Vidal, etc.) to form Voltron but the real question is does "Chasing Goosebumps" really give you goosebumps?
"Chasing Goosebumps" sets off with "Distraction" which has Rich Medina getting his Def Poetry on over a Dillaesque sounding bounce while Glen Lewis asks the important question, "are you gonna follow them or lead them?" "Faceless" is an instant head nodder and has Glenn Lewis (who's the lone singer on the album) breaking down how he wishes we could be faceless and "maybe then we would treat each other right, maybe we would help each other more" while "Superman" tells out youth "don't tuck your cape in young sister, let it blow in the wind/they want you to be Clark Kent young brother but you're more like Superman." Oh yeah, the music on this jawn just happens to be flat out BANANAS too! "1995" is more of that Dillaesque bounce I was talking about earlier and has Glen reminiscing on the good ole days of the 90's "if you answered the phone that meant you were home." "Defeated" featuring Dayne Jordan is so damn dope and has Glenn riding this beat like he's a veteran MC telling us he didn't come all this way to just be defeated and Dayne kills his verse, "I ain't gotta ask inside your own, we let you in the house don't divide the home/when you talk to me watch your tone, watch the plot don't watch the phone/I came with the camp I am not alone, but even if I was I am not the one/gotta stay on my grind takes a lot to run, I can't eat you forgot your gun/how we do it on the eastside, peace side, until we get a weak vibe/it ain't nuthin to delete ya, on everything coming through the speaker/momma told for my brother be his keeper, but be aware of the beast/go with the flow by the seaside and know the coins got 3 sides."
"Mr. Grump" slows things down and is an open letter to our new President, "so nice to meet you Mr. Grump you're not the only one surprised that your lies took first prize/so glad to see what you have done, congratulation you have won/so glad to know you're not like me, pleasure to save a better breed of a man with the world in his hands/but I say you're deceiving, everyone's believing that you'll build what you can/but we the people, we are coming together, we can't afford to let you tear us apart/we the people, we will get there, we the people are out to do our part." "Stone Cold" featuring Dayne Jordan and "Good Time" are both dope as hell and get that nod factor back in effect and the horn arrangements on both of these jawns are stupid! "First Time" is a beautiful ballad asking "when was the last time something was your first time", "Take Your Time" is another dope ballad that EVERY parent trying to fit some time in with their significant other should be able to relate to, "hello babe it has been a while, since we had some time girl/time to be alone the kids are away girl, the bed is finally ours/lets make use of the time girl, come closer to me" and "Chasing Goosebumps" is an instrumental jawn that ends the album on a perfect note. But my fave BANGER on "Chasing..." is easily "This Could Be Us." Cooked up from the same ingredients used by the builders of classic 70's Doobie Brothers hits, "This Could Be Us" has Glenn breaking down how dope their relationship could be if she would stop playing. "I decided my love belongs to you, no reservation that's not how I do/but here I am arms open wide again, we could be the Jeffersons, Barack and Michelle/this could be us but you keep playing baby."
Now, the question at hand is "Chasing Goosebumps" everything I expected? Well, that's hard to say because I didn't know what to expect in the first place. I think I was expecting a 'lil hip hop on tap since cats like Stroe Elliott and Tall Black Man were on tap and maybe some E. Roberson and Avery Sunshine on lead vocals too. But at the end of the day, I'm not mad at all about what I ended up getting with "Chasing Goosebumps." One of my fave slept on albums from the 00's that I loved was Glenn Lewis' "World Outside My Window" (that just happened to be produced by ATOJ too) so I'm in no way mad that he was the only vocalist on the project. Plus dude held it down so dope that after the first 3 songs into the album I forgot all about wanting some hip hop in the first place. So, all of that to say that "Chasing Goosebumps" doesn't necessarily give us goosebumps but the message along with some AMAZING music gives us all the motivation we need to go along with our beautiful struggle. And to me, we need that more then we need some goosebumps...I'm just sayin.
4 outta 5 mics