The Isley Brothers' rich musical legacy has been covered by contemporary R&B/pop artists and provided the melodic backdrop to many rap/ hip-hop recordings.
The Isley Brothers' rich musical legacy has been covered by contemporary R&B/pop artists and provided the melodic backdrop to many rap/ hip-hop recordings. So it seems fitting that entire Isley classics should be reworked and remixed in tribute to the group's enduring influence. Those doing the musical reconstructions can be divided into two camps: the obvious (the Roots' Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, De La Soul, Steven "Lenky" Marsden of Sean Paul fame) and the not-so-obvious (Sade producer/ co-writer Stuart Matthewman, electronic producer Gabriel Rene). On paper, Isley purists may dismiss these creative slants. But once they give this CD a spin, they'll be pleasantly surprised. Without slandering the originals, these guest producer/ artists inject new color into the Isley palette. Among the best: Marsden's dancehall-flavored "Between the Sheets," Thompson's slowed-down "That Lady (Part 1 & 2)," the Ignorants' electro-funk-fused "Take Me to the Next Phase" and De La Soul's hip-hop reinterpretation of "It's Your Thing" (here titled "It's a New Thing"). But it's Mos Def's smoky rap interplay on "Beauty in the Dark" (originally titled "Groove With You") that resonates long after the CD stops spinning.—GM