Jigmastas to return with new album, greatest hits mix

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One of the great underground hip-hop groups of the ’90s was Brooklyn’s Jigmastas. The duo, comprised of DJ Spinna on beats and Kriminul on the mic, were too futuristic and off-the-mainstream track for major-label success, and their self-released singles started clicking just as the underground scene was cratering in the mid- to late ’90s. In spite of massive respect from the rap cognoscenti, the group stopped releasing music in the early 2000s. Spinna went on to concentrate on dance-music production (most notably creating a modern house classic when he remixed a Shaun Escoffery tune with the help of Dap Kings keyboardist Victor Axelrod), while Kriminul focused on raising a family.

Behind the scenes, however, the team has quietly been working on a new full-length album, due to be released on BBE early next year. As a warm-up, the British label has compiled a collection of their earlier work, sourced from a host of rare independently pressed singles, and out now on all formats. The collection sounds fresher than ever, with one foot in Spinna’s next-level sonic stratosphere and one in Krim’s intricate rhymes, delivered with a gravelly voice that has drawn comparisons to Guru. The Gang Starr front man is just one of many boldfaced names who appear as guest MCs on the collection—when Pharoahe Monch, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Sadat X, and Mr. Complex are involved, the respect the Jigmastas garnered from their peers is evident.

If you want to get up to speed with these overlooked gems or revisit a certain era in the history of NYC hip-hop, check the “Greatest Hits” mix of their past material put together by DJ Kensei. A Wax Poetics exclusive premiere, it’s a welcome reminder of how unique and next level the group was at the time, and a archetypal headphone headnod experience for those who have yet to discover them, a new audience who’re in for a treat.

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