Mixtape Review(mash up edition)-Yasiin Gaye: The Return (Side Two) by Amerigo Gazaway
When I first pressed play in my vehicle and explained what this project is my wife looked at me, beaming a sudden tranquility, and said “…nothing like a good mash-up.” You can’t beat a great combination: Jay-z and Oasis (Ojaysis), Wu-tang and Fugazi (Wugazi), White album, Red Album, and the miraculous concoction of Jay lyrics over Godfather soundtrack that DJ Skee cooked up a while back.
A good mash-up becomes three things: cold water in the face reminder to listen to artist A, Artist B, and a new bonded hybrid of the two artists that lives above the two. The tape becomes a new musical creation that leaves you asking “Why aren’t there more mash-ups?”
Gazaway used side one(separate mixtape) of this collaboration to focus on the Marvin and Mos we know; using What’s Going On quite liberally behind verses burned into the brains of any Rawkus Records true believer. Side two is great because it draws masterfully from my favorite Marvin works (lesser known Here, My Dear & I Want You) intertwining the voices in a way that feels like a genuine collaboration. Sometimes the Marvin Sample is a simple groan looped to follow the right words (Modern Marvel pt. 1). On Undeniable we isolate one of the most powerful voices in hip hop history for a two word chorus that sneaks behind The Temptations and goes beyond a perfect fit.
The booklet that comes with the download states that the mission is to use Yasiin Bey’s own words as a tribute to Marvin. So this is not Amerigo’s tribute to the two artists, it’s his assist in a loving tribute from Bey to Gaye. In terms of career Bey has always felt like an unstable property going from underwhelming project to eye opening one (True Magic to The Ecstatic). While his debut album Black on Both Sides has more than its share of brilliance you can feel a lovable paranoia running amuck; A talent that can’t trust its surroundings and wanders as a result; a voice that yearns to sing, rock, Jamaican toast, and rip verses. No one knew how to create a universe of interlocking grooves better than Marvin Gaye and the combination makes every song feel like a first time test conducted with a gloriously funky safety net.
I may be giving the false impression that these songs carry a singular feel from one to another, absolutely not. Ghetto Rock is thick and chunky with Chuck Berry guitar and vocals. Modern Marvel 1 is a whispering beauty while 2 is a summer cook out eyes closed finger snapping sing along. Anna’s Love Song doesn’t belong on Here, My Dear it feels like the grandchild of the song it takes its name from. I’m so glad to have rap I can play with my wife’s parents in the car. So happy that Amerigo Gazaway reminded me of the strength and range Marvin had in his voice. Sometimes his music hypnotizes me to an extent that I forget how much power he wielded. Nothing like a good mash-up and this one is great.
stream or download Yasiin Gaye: The Return (Side Two) below: