Everyone knows that it takes two to make a thing go right. You won’t get any argument from Jazze Pha and Cee- Lo Green. Armed with beats, rhymes and life this dynamic duo has come together to deliver their Capitol Records debut Happy Hour. With contributions from Keith Sweat, Aaron Hall, Nate Dogg, Mannie Fresh, and Pussycat Dolls, Happy Hour brims with a sexy, stylish soulfulness that Jazze calls “a day in the life of Cee-Lo and Jazze Pha.” Adds Cee- Lo, Happy Hour is “60 minutes of well dressed drama. It’s a fashion statement, a musical statement and a social statement.” In other words? Happy Hour is fly.
Jazze Pha and Cee- Lo Green know all about that. These natives of the Dirty South, who have long called Atlanta home, rep hard for fly and forward thinking hip hop/R&B; infusing the rhythm with wit, wisdom and spirit. The child of musicians (his dad was in the legendary soul band the Bar-Kays, his mother a popular session singer) Jazze’s grooves have fortified artists like T.I, Tupac, Outkast and Ciara, whose smash “1, 2 Step” came straight outta Jazze’s lab. As for Cee Lo, whether as a founding member of Goodie Mobb or on his critically heralded solo cds (TK TK) this rapper/singer/producer has served as a hip hop/soul standard bearer. It was merely a matter of time before the two joined forces.
They first met in 1996 and over the years would run into each other in Atlanta. In 2003 Jazze produced Cee- Lo’s “The One” and as Jazze recalls, “After that we just hit it off.” Thoughts turned to collaborating on an album. As fate would have it, Cee Lo was in between labels and Jazze had some down time. Immediately Jazze and Cee- Lo knew they had found in each other a perfect partner. “Cee-Lo and I had so much common ground, everything was just agreed upon. “ “It was so organic and so easy to sit in the room and be compelled by Jazze’s production, “ Cee- Lo concurs. “To realize that we are the same people. That casual quality and friendship was all I needed to do this record.”
Jazze and Cee- Lo also shared a desire to push themselves in new and possibly unexpected creative directions. ”Both of us wanted to have a platform to vent feelings and emotions other than what people usually associate us with,“ Jazze explains. “We get to sing, rap and produce. Happy Hour was a way to show that we had many different facets. Like in my case I wanted this to be a collaborative effort to really showcase the fact that I also sing and rap. I also wanted to write songs that were meant only for me. I didn’t have to filter anything out. It just made the CD really special”. ”I was excited," Cee Lo crows, “because I consider myself to be fairly dynamic. There’s a lot that I haven’t showcased. This album is a different branch from the same tree and a way to share another part of my personality. I’m a regular guy and this is an album where I can be that; a cool guy who likes to dress nice, be a gentleman, be a ladies man, drink and carry on in a way I’ve never had the chance to do on record.”
Cee -Lo and Jazze kick their party off with the gloriously bangin’ first single and title track. Says Jazze, “It's an invitation to hit the happy hour. You’ve been working all day, it’s only right to unwind with us. Have some apple martinis, cosmos, pina coladas. If those sound like ladies drinks it’s because we are ladies men!” Cee Lo agrees. “Happy Hour” states our intentions. It sort of reminded me of (Kool and The Gang's) ‘Ladies Night.’ Music shouldn’t just be entertainment it should be therapeutic and nourishing, as well.”
Keeping on the good foot is “Disco Bitch” featuring the puurfect Pussycat Dolls. Says Jazze, "When I first came up with that chorus I wanted to make a record that would exemplify what the late Rick James, God rest his soul, might do if he were still around. The hook was an ode to him, like Street Songs part 2. It was originally written for PCD but it ended up fitting us more. So we asked the girls to be on the record and I think it’s one of our hottest”.
Also red hot are “Moan” and “Share” boasting vocals from New Jack Swing gods Keith Sweat and Aaron Hall, respectively.” They are legends, “Jazze explains. “When we were coming up they were the cats who we all thought were the coolest, the flyest. We loved working with both of them and they came to the project with open arms, so humble and so willing to work. Being in the studio with those singers was a total pleasure.”
Jazze and Cee- Lo know a little something about pleasure, as well. After years of elevating music, these two creative life forces have stepped their game up, once again with an album that Jazze proudly states, ”Is a ten. It’s probably one of the best records I’ve ever done because this is really me. And it's really Cee -Lo and I gotta say I don’t think this is just a one-time collaboration. If the way Happy Hour feels and sounds is any indication, I’d say this is just one record out of many." And why’s that? Cee-Lo sums it up. “Because Jazze makes it fun and I make it fundamental.“
And of course very, very fly.