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Meaning of the song ‘Talkin’ All That Jazz’ by ‘Stetsasonic’

Released: 1988

“Talkin’ All That Jazz” by Stetsasonic is an assertive clap-back at critics who deemed hip-hop as unoriginal due to its sampling of other genres. The 1988 jam not only defended the art of sampling but also underscored the creativity and innovation inherent in the hip-hop game.

The opening verse immediately sets the tone, highlighting the group’s frustration with the criticism surrounding their art. Hip-hop’s use of sampling becomes the rallying point. Phrases like “You said it wasn’t art, so now we’re gonna rip you apart” and “this is the music of a hip-hop band” are the crew’s bold affirmation of their craft. The “Jazz” they reference can be seen as the old guard, traditional views of music creation, unable to digest the new format.

The second verse speaks to the potency of words, where talk is cheap, and actions speak louder. Here, the group defends their sampling method, emphasizing it’s more than just “borrowing,” – it’s a strategic and creative tool essential to the genre. The line “You see, you misunderstood/A sample is a tactic/A portion of my method, a tool,” stresses how they use samples to pay homage, create unique sounds, and keep the legacies of past artists alive.

The third verse tackles the consequences of spreading lies or misinformation about hip-hop. It also brings to question the critics’ understanding of the genre. They juxtapose James Brown’s dwindling relevance to Eric B and Rakim’s resurgence of his sound with “I Got Soul”, arguing that hip-hop revitalizes the old into something fresh and appealing.

The closing verses stress the importance of respect and understanding. They declare their stand “like Sly and the Family Stone.” Sly’s influence on the band is evident as he was known for blending soul, jazz, and funk – much like Stetsasonic sampling across genres. They finish with a simple warning about reap what you sow, effectively cautioning the detractors to think before “Talkin’ all that Jazz.”

Overall, “Talkin’ All That Jazz” is a potent defense of hip-hop and the creative use of sampling, effectively silencing critics with a rhythmic, poetic, and powerful retort. It affirms hip-hop’s place in the music industry, while laying down its role in reinvigorating old tunes and keeping the music landscape dynamic and alive.

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