That’s My Jam is a weekly feature where one person from the Selective Hearing staff goes to wax poetic about music that is pivotal to their musical tastes. Whether that would be an album, a song, or anything in-between. We all had to start somewhere. 

DJ Jazzy Jeff The Return of the Magnificent

Released May 8, 2007

Track Listing

  1. Hip Hop featuring Twone Gabz
  2. Let Me Hear U Clap featuring Posdnous
  3. Run That Back featuring Black Ice & Eshon Burgundy
  4. The Definition featuring Kelly Spencer
  5. Touch Me Wit Ur Handz featuring Chinah Blac
  6. Jeff N Fess featuring Rhymefest
  7. Practice featuring J-Live
  8. Supa Jean featuring Jean Grae
  9. The Garden featuring Big Daddy Kane
  10. She Was So Flyy featuring Kardinal Offishall
  11. Hold It Down featuring Method Man
  12. All I Know featuring C.L. Smooth
  13. Go See The Doctor 2K7 featuring Twone Gabz
  14. My Soul Ain’t for Sale featuring Raheem DeVaughn
  15. Come On featuring Dave Ghetto
  16. Brand New Funk 2K7 featuring Peedi Peedi

Review

2007 is an underrated year in hip-hop lore. Redman had a return of form in ’07. The Juice Crew/Boogie Down Productions beef was officially over when KRS-One and Marley Marl declared that hip-hop lives. Common’s Finding Forever netted him a couple of Grammy nominations. Talib Kweli put out Eardrum, his best solo album to date. Kanye West had Graduation, Jay-Z put out American Gangster, Wu-Tang reunited for 8 Diagrams, and Lupe Fiasco brought us The Cool. I don’t think you can talk about hip-hop in ’07 without mentioning DJ Jazzy Jeff’s The Return of the Magnificent.

The concept behind this album is simple: Jeff has to drive down to Atlanta (probably from Philadelphia) to pick up his son, but he has to drive a rental car that only has the radio. He’s not looking forward to it. Each song on the album are songs that play on the radio. The execution of that idea is why I love this album.

Jeff was not only able to bring in all these MCs and singers and maintains a cohesiveness throughout the LP, but also tailored the production to each person on their respective songs. Sure, the Big Daddy Kane didn’t come to Show and Prove, but it’s hard to imagine another MC on that production other than Kane. I’m a lyrical person, but this album reminded me that production is still critical. Having a singular vision can take a project to another level, even if there are multiple features. Going from Practice where Jeff samples Allen Iverson’s infamous speech about practice, Peedi Peedi doing the ’07 version of Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince’s classic, to flipping a Love Unlimited Orchestra song for Method Man, Jeff’s production is great. This album is one of the few albums that I can listen to instrumentally.

Plus, the skits here are good. Hip-hop skits on albums usually fail. They typically add nothing to the album as a whole. Jeff made the skits to advance the story of the drive down to Atlanta. There is especially a good three-part mini-arc where Jeff is at a drive-through and the lady asks him where Will Smith is. He then calls his homey to complain about being asked about The Fresh Prince. It ultimately ends with Jeff calling Will and asking if people come up to him and ask him where he is. It’s great to hear the two of them together on this album.

To be frank, The Return of the Magnificent is one of my favorite hip-hop of all time. It’s not all hip-hop music here, there are smooth R&B tracks here as well. But they all have that Jazzy Jeff signature on them. Jeff is more than the guy who Uncle Phil threw out of his house. He’s one of the best DJs ever and this album is a testament to that.

Return Of The Magnificent

iTunes