Deconstruction is a wonderful thing when done right and Skyzoo has always shown a proclivity towards distilling the essence of our most classic periods and reinvigorating that spirit with modern day flavor. For The Jiggaman’s birthday, Sky, along with Philly composer Antman Wonder drop An Ode To Reasonable Doubt, a work that injects an orchestral flavor and a modern take on the cornerstone album of Jay-Z’s illustrious career.
Mela Machinko replaces Mary J on The Hustle Never Sleeps, an interpolation of Can’t Knock The Hustle. J.DIlla atmospherics blend perfectly with the strings and added key s to the construction. The Usual Politics is slower and more dramatic than its predecessor Politics As Usual.
The Feeling reduces the classic Dead Presidents to its most spare elements and then builds upon that foundation with added horns and snare backed heavy drums. Skyzoo packs the same bar density as a then-era Jay-Z. That Nas vocal sample remains untouched as it was the most flawless vocal. Chunky strings and background bounce brings the track to a rousing close.
Feeling It gives way to The Feeling with a far more nuanced vocalist riding shotgun. That piano is styled up with added notes but the original framework remains intact and instantly recognizable. Skyzoo finds himself Praying Against D’evils as opposed to the original. There is added funk and weight given to the reworked track and Skyzoo delivers lyrically with lines like “9-5 is how you survive but my mom had two jobs, so for her a 9 to 5 was 5 to 9.”
Can I Live becomes I’m In Love With Living, this time around with blaring horns and silky subterranean basslines enlivening the occasionally melodramatic original. Conversing On Coming Up is given an aquatic uplifting with sharp instrumentals and added bridge makes the track superior to the original Coming of Age. Guest rapper Diizco improves on Bleek’s Meek Mill 1.0 performance.
Thinking You Can Hang has a totally different sonic signature than inspiration, Bring It On with a concert feel and rock drums adding to Preemo’s original. Torae and Sha Stimuli provide amply firepower to match wits with Sauce, Jay and Jaz-O. Skyzoo delivers a tour de force weaving in Wire-isms while Sha rhymes like his daughter is tied up in a Brooklyn basement. The Truth About Regrets closes out the album with an airy rendition that gives full orchestra treatment to Regrets, transforming a strong closing note to a towering sendoff.
Antman Wonder has succeeded in breathing life into classic but stuck in their era tracks while Skyzoo brings the machinations of a young Jay-Z closer in relation to the people. While Reasonable Doubt was written for the hustlers, An Ode To Reasonable Doubt was made for the listeners who appreciate the art of this music. Sounds so beautiful. I’m sure you’ll agree. Sublime.