Doo-Bop (1992)

Doo-Bop (1992)

It’s not as bad as you’ve heard. Doo-Bop, Miles Davis’ posthumous “hip-hop album,” was mostly derided by critics upon its release (though it did win a Grammy in 1993 for Best R&B Instrumental Performance). But of its nine tracks, only three are truly terrible: “The Doo Bop Song,” “Blow,” and “Fantasy,” which happen to be the ones on which producer Easy Mo Bee raps. Every Miles Davis song with a vocalist (and mercifully there weren’t many) is to be avoided at all costs, those three definitely included. The other six are all instrumental, and they’re pretty solid. Remember, 1991, when this album was made, was pretty much hip-hop’s Golden Age, and Easy Mo Bee was a very prescient pick as producer; he’d already worked with Big Daddy Kane, and would soon work with Notorious B.I.G. on the majority of Ready to Die.

The six instrumental tracks — one of which, “High Speed Chase,” was assembled posthumously — fall somewhere in the neighborhood of acid jazz, new jack swing and proto-trip-hop. The beats, built on samples of classic break-beats, lope and strut, and Davis’ horn, mostly muted, bobs and weaves like the boxers he admired. Melodies are thin on the ground, but there’s plenty of mood. So while Doo-Bop may be a footnote to Davis’ career, it’s not a shameful one by any means.

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