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The history of jazz-rap in 10 albums

Local artists like Mad Dukez, Drea D'Nur and Jared Tinkham are examples of the blend of hip-hop and jazz here in Buffalo.

Here is a look at some of the more influential albums that have helped foster that fusion:

A Tribe Called Quest, "Low End Theory"

1991: Not the first time hip-hop had looked to jazz, but clearly the premier successful marriage of the two aesthetics.

Gang Starr, "Daily Operation"

1992: MC Guru made explicit his understanding of jazz history and his desire to bring rap firmly into the conversation here.

Guru, "Guru's Jazzmatazz"

1993: Post-Gang Starr, Guru fulfilled his ambition to push the jazz-rap hybrid deep into the mainstream with Jazzmatazz. "I wanted to take it to the next level and create a new genre, by getting the dudes we were sampling into the studio to jam over hip-hop beats with some of the top vocalists of the time," he told Blues and Soul magazine in 2009. Mission accomplished.

Digable Planets, "Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space)"

1993: Marrying the conscious hip-hop movement of the time, DP brought positivity and a chilled-out vibe to jazz-rap with their debut.

Buckshot Lefonque, "Buckshot Lefonque"

1994: It was one thing for rappers to incorporate jazz, but quite another, apparently, for jazz musicians to embrace rap. Branford Marsalis received critical bashing for this album, but history has proven he was on the right track.

The Roots, "Do You Want More?!!!??!"

1995: Philly soul and edgy hip-hop meet jazz on the Roots' second effort. Still sounds revolutionary two decades on.

Nujabes, "Modal Soul"

2005: Japanese producer Nujabes brought lounge-jazz chords to bear on hip-hop beats and made some of the most contemplative grooves going.

J Dilla, "Donuts"

2006: Dilla didn’t so much incorporate jazz as he did mirror the jazz aesthetic in his beat construction. He remains the primary rhythmic reference point in all hip-hop/jazz hybrids some 12 years after his death.

Robert Glasper Experiment, "Black Radio"

2012: Glasper and Co. took Dilla, their flawless pedigrees as jazz musicians, and a deep understanding of soul, R&B and funk and crafted from these influences a new hybrid.

Kendrick Lamar, "To Pimp a Butterfly"

2015: The new generation's equivalent of Tribe, Gang Starr and Guru.

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