It's worth remembering that even though Jay Dee had already produced A Tribe Called Quest, De La and the Pharcyde when this came out, he was not yet the bonafide beat messiah he's known as today. His 2001 BBE project was generally knocked for sloppy vocals, not quite a fair assessment, but one that probably caused more than a few folks to overlook it. With Jay's growing stature and the success of disciples like Dwele (who contributed heavily to this project), maybe it's time to take another look, and this instrumental version provides a good way to do it. Although you'll have to go back to the full album for one of the best grooves ("Rico Suave Bossa Nova" is not included here), and although some tracks, like the Donald Byrd remake "Think Twice," don't quite work sans vocals, most others, like "Give It Up" and "Featuring Phat Cat" just plain bump like nobody's business. Tracks like "It's Like That" and the Karriem Riggins collabo "The Clapper" demonstrate Jay's knack for making a compelling beat with the most minimal of elements, while Jay's influences show up on other tracks, like the Kraftwerk homage "BBE," the nod to EWF ("Brazilian Groove") and the Oneness of Juju cut-up "African Rhythms." Also check "Y'all Ain't Ready" and "It's Like That." Here's to second chances.
reviewed by the monk 08/2005