Jazz has been embedded in the beauty of Hip Hop long before A Tribe Called Quest told fans as much and outfits such as Hidden Beach Recordings began flipping R&B and Hip Hop records into smooth, jazz-made covers. On his brand new EP Live In Paris, Grammy-nominated artist Theo Crocker utilizes the sound of Drake and Travis Scott’s “Fair Trade” and a Yasiin Bey classic to paint the world in his own way.
“These are live sessions,” Crocker says at the beginning of his cover of “Umi Says” from Yasiin’s 1999 classic solo debut album Black On Both Sides. The covers of “Umi Says” and “Fair Trade,” taken from the 6 God’s Certified Lover Boy are Crocker’s first-ever publicly released Hip Hop covers in his career.
“I wanted to highlight what fans can expect to hear from me on tour – how my band and I incorporate elements of my latest studio album into the live show, and how we can take material from any genre to fit into whatever setting we’re playing in,” Crocker said in a statement. “I chose to play some tunes from the hip-hop idiom, bringing them back into the improvisational space. We put an instrumental twist on Drake’s ‘Fair Trade,’ and then with Mos Def’s ‘UMI Says’ I started showing more of my vocals.
“It’s a song that Mos Def doesn’t perform live, so I wanted to give people a version of it aside from the original that they can rock to. With “Where Will You Go,” I wanted to include a song from BLK2LIFE || A FUTURE PAST that people recognize, bridging the gap between my new music and some hip-hop classics.”
Recorded while Crocker was on tour in Paris in support of his BLK2LIFE || A FUTURE PAST album, press play on the jazz heavy flips below.