Almost five years ago, when Gang Starr opted to close the book on a working relationship, Hip Hop fans had a lot to say. Those conversations, some of which are still ongoing, tended to be validating of the producer who helped birth the sounds of Biggie, Jay-Z and Nas than the emcee who largely kept his work as an in-house commodity.

Within that trend, perhaps many had all-too-quickly overlooked Jazzmatazz, a four-part franchise that had revived, reconsidered and recreated the careers of Jazz legends like Roy Ayers, Donald Byrd and Lonnie Liston Smith. These releases were not only audio textbooks in the mid-to-late ’90s, but they sold well, backed by Chrysalis/EMI, and spawning three years of extensive touring.

Despite the early resistance in Volume 4, the recent mixtape Back To The Future garnered rave reviews. With assistance from everyone from Common to Mr. Lif, the mixtape that feels like an album is continuing that education at a time when skeptics argue we need it most. Joined by his musical companion Solar, the two scoff at the Grammy Awards Nomination Committee, the major labels and the term Smooth Jazz. 7 Grand has withstood its first four years, see how the Brooklyn imprint intends to go forward.

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AD The Back To The Future mixtape is getting some strong reviews, which perhaps comes as a surprise to some. How is this reaction affirming what you