The Isley Brothers – Taken To The Next Phase (Reconstructions)

Hip hop pays tribute to masters of the slow jam

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A band who can plot a course from the choirs of ’50s Cincinnati to the studio of R Kelly, via epochal R&B, Motown and psychedelic soul are in need of few lessons in adapting to the zeitgeist. Which makes this album of hip hop ‘reconstructions’ of Isley Brothers classics, stuck awkwardly between honorific tribute and more radical reinterpretation, all the more of a tepid affair. ?uestlove barely tinkers with “Who’s That Lady?”, the Black Eyed Peas make a drab slow jam of “Tell Me When You Need It Again” and only Mos Def, with a rapt, downbeat drawl through “Groove With You”, seems genuinely seduced by the spirit of the songs.

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