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Öou can't Judge a book by its i cover, they say, but that's !: exactly what made me rip the cellophane off rapper Guru's newCD. Uke the mld'50s Jazz label Blue Note, It has a cool cover: bold lettering across the top letting you know who Is on the album; the artist gripplng an old fashioned mlcrophone; smoke Ungering In the air. But thls recordlng has a wanilng: "An experimental fusión of Hiphop and Jazz." Not being a big rap fan , I was surprised when I reached for thls dlsc a second time. It's like hlp-hop meets be-bop = hlp-bop! Another cool thing about thls record Is Guru's respect for the great Jazz muslclans who perform on thls dlsc. Guru worked wlth Branford Marsalls on Spike Lee's soundtrack for "Mo' Better Blues." Here Marsalis plays a beautiful background horn on the cut "Transit Ride." Vocalist N'Dea Davenport Is featured wlth Guru rappin' on "When You're Near Me." Guitarist Ronnie Jordán plays on the upbeat, positlve message tune, "No Time to Play" - about trylng to support a family. (Guru will appear on the new Ronnie Jordán album due out In gust.) Courtney Pine plays sax and Carleen Anderson handles back-up vocals beautifully on the telling-it-like-it-is tune "Slghts In The City." M.C. Solaar raps In French on "Le Bien, Le Mal." Each featured artist gets co-productlon credit for the songs they play. I guess what I like the most about this record besldes the cool cover and the jazzy rappln' Is what it's missing. It isn't strewn wlth profanltles, and women are not referred to Ín derogatory ways.


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