Jahari Massamba Unit is the alias of producers Madlib and Karriem Riggins, whose work blends funk, hip-hop, and jazz with thrilling results.
Their debut collaborative album, Pardon My French, feels influenced by the likes of Pharoah Sanders, Herbie Hancock, and Lonnie Liston Smith—astral jazz luminaries who don’t tether themselves to any one genre.
Part beat tape, part spiritual jazz and Black-Classical Music, Pardon My French has the same warmth of Sanders’ and Smith’s older arrangements, right down to the stacked drums and West African rhythms.
In that way, Pardon My French is set somewhere in the early ‘70s, with drifting synths and swirling percussion eliciting a deeply Afrocentric aura. In the end, Pardon My French is equally vast and riveting, a brisk walk through historical canon with the present firmly in mind.