Rediscover Madlib’s Yesterdays’ New Quintet Thanks To Stones Throw (Audio)

Madlib. Quasimoto. The Loop Digga. The man born Otis Jackson, Jr. has many names, identities, and personas.

Back in the early 2000s, one of Madlib quietly emerged with one of his most illusive groups, Yesterday’s New Quintet. A consummate sampler, Madlib began experimenting with a Fender Rhodes keyboard. As Stones Throw Records tells it, “Joe McDuphrey, Malik Flavors, Ahmad Miller, Monk Hughes and Otis Jackson Jr. (Madlib) [were assembled to form YNQ.] They set up shop in the West Los Angeles living room the home/headquarters of Stones Throw, living and worked there through the end of the year before Stones Throw relocated to another house elsewhere in Los Angeles. A few days later, Madlib and YNQ showed up there too, building a studio in the home’s former cold war-era bomb shelter.”

The group’s coup de grace would be Angles Without Edges, released the same day (September 11, 2001) as Jay-Z’s The Blueprint and Fabolous’ Ghetto Fabolous. Notably, despite critical acclaim, YNQ had an odd trajectory. In 2003, they released Stevie, an homage to Stevie Wonder recorded before Angles, and then a sudden morph into Yesterday’s Universe. The new off-shoot kept some of the original players, but not quite. Additionally, Madlib’s Blue Note Records effort, Shades Of Blue also called upon his Jazz collective for support.

Seemingly a 15 year-old, rather distant off-shoot from Madlib today, Stones Throw offers up Phases. This 10-track compilation puts Yesterday’s New Quintet up for further consideration. For ‘Lib Heads who have caught on with JayLib, Madvillain, or his work with Common, Erykah Badu, or Freddie Gibbs…this is a welcome diversion:

Do you think YNQ should be revisited in the wake of acts like Flying Lotus, Thundercat, and Terrace Martin emerging?

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