The blue note is a musical term in jazz music. It refers to a note played intentionally between standard notes by a semitone in order to give the sound more emotion.
Brooklyn rhymer Skyzoo crafted an EP titled The Bluest Note with this in mind. The project dropped today (April 24) and shares a name with a 2012 award winning short film. The title is also a call out to Toni Morrison’s classic novel The Bluest Eye.
This EP is a multi-layered exploration of art, literature, and music. Skyzoo is as much a man of letters as he is an emcee’s emcee. He is following in the footsteps of Gangstarr’s Guru, who pioneered the jazz rap sub genre with his Jazzmatazz series. Others to do it well include A Tribe Called Quest and Digable Planets.
Skyzoo released his last project, Retropolitan, a collaboration with Pete Rock, in 2019. The Brooklynite assembled this collection of songs and gave his take on jazzy hip hop with satisfying results. The six-track EP is as much street poetry as it is social commentary.
With song titles like “We (Used to) Live in Brooklyn, Baby,” there is no shortage of substance to be found with respect to the EP’s content. Riffing on the title of Roy Ayer’s classic jazz record, Skyzoo’s style is the result of his homegrown influences. The album closer “Sing Comfortably” is also a highlight.
Brooklyn has given us rap phenomenons like Biggie, JAY-Z, Black Star, Big Daddy Kane, and countless others. Skyzoo takes his borough’s legacy and adds to it with his own artistry. The jazz vibes were provided by Italian jazz band Dumbo Station.
The two music acts connected while Skyzoo was touring Italy a few years ago. According to Hypebeast, the musical bond was a natural progression for the two.
“Collaborating with Italy’s renowned jazz band Dumbo Station was an absolute honor. From writing musical arrangements with them and having them bring them to life in the studio in Rome, Italy; it was a perfect union and execution of what I foresaw when I began to sketch out the project. Six songs, as an homage to the classic jazz albums of the genre’s heyday (when LPs were around six tracks total). The Bluest Note is the storytelling and inner-city expressions you’ve come to know and love from me, attached to the jazz orchestration[.] I’m dying to introduce to some and re-introduce to others.”
Let The Bluest Note set the mood. Listen here.