October 2008

Various Artists
Unwrapped Vol. 5.0: The ColliPark Café Sessions
Hidden Beach Recordings

The bestselling Unwrapped juggernaut—jazzy flips of hip-hop hits, they call them—continues. It’s been three years since the last effort, and executive producer Steve McKeever explains that a slew of imitations caused the delay. But apparently fans begged for a new edition, and Hidden Beach has responded with something a little different. Sure, you might not be able to tell the difference between the production of “Crank That” and “Get Low” on Vol. 5 and “Lean Back” and “Candy Shop” from Vol. 4. But it’s an even tougher and aggressive jazz/hip-hop hybrid. There’s a distinct Southern flavor thanks to the collaboration with Atlanta’s ColliPark Studios, known for producing hits by Soulja Boy, Ludacris and Young Jeezy.

Producer Mr. Collipark, aka Michael Crooms, assisted with the selection of “crunk” hip-hop, a subgenre that bounces along with repeated refrains and energetic club rhythms. Contemporary jazz keyboardist Jeff Lorber returns to add his familiar playing, as do regulars Karen Briggs on violin, Mike Phillips on sax, Jeff Bradshaw on trombone, and numerous regular ColliPark producers and musicians.

It’s all intriguing, and definitely tilted more toward contemporary jazz than hip-hop. How about turning the tables with hip-hop artists doing current smooth-jazz hits?

Originally published in October 2008

1 Comment

  • Oct 22, 2009 at 02:30PM Hasan Saeed

    vol. 5 is a nice tribute album to hip hop. However, I have more faith in vol. 6 when it comes to being attractive to the ear. This album is something. I recommend getting vol. 6 of unwrapped.

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