Jimmy Jay

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Jimmy Jay, born Christophe Viguier, began mixing in the mid-'80s with a turntable and a tape deck. Initially performing at weddings and other parties, Jimmy went a step further when he started scratching…
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Jimmy Jay, born Christophe Viguier, began mixing in the mid-'80s with a turntable and a tape deck. Initially performing at weddings and other parties, Jimmy went a step further when he started scratching and mixing for dancefloors and even won the 1989 DJ DMC contest in France. By that time, Jimmy was looking for the opportunity for a serious step forward -- collaboration with an MC -- and MC Solaar (Claude M'Barali) and his Posse 501 came along. Not many MCs get the chance to work with one of the most promising DJs and producers in rap music, so in 1990 Solaar released his first maxi-single with "Bouge de Là"/"Caroline"/"Quartier Nord," produced by Jimmy Jay. The album Qui Seme le Vent Recolte le Tempo hit shelves in 1991 and rap went blue: the jazz-blended and laid-back instrumentals fit perfectly with the raps of Solaar, whose smooth warm voice delivered clever rhymes. Jimmy Jay's production strongly matched the talents of the MC, who was seeking to make a strong impression with his long-player -- there were many beautiful songs with varied production that provided emphasis to the MC's comments on subjects like fashion's victims, art, the death of a man, and other matters. This cornerstone in French hip-hop -- with its smooth sound and the incredible poetry of Solaar -- brought jazz-rap to the forefront in France.

In 1992 Jimmy Jay and DJ Seeq co-produced the album Rap Jazz Soul by Soon E MC, another Posse 501 member. Jimmy and Seeq would work closely on many projects from that point forward. The following year was a big one for Jimmy Jay, as he released Les Cool Sessions, assembled a coterie of new MCs around him, and gave Guru "Le Bien, le Mal" for Jazzmatazz, in which Guru and Solaar both sang. A connection was thus made with the New York City contingent of jazz-rappers. A second album with Solaar (with help from BoomBass) was a huge success in 1994. Prose Combat featured poetry by Solaar; the album exploded on the French scene and guaranteed the success of future efforts, as Jimmy Jay and MC Solaar have continued to produce noteworthy albums, including a pair of releases that could be considered among the Top Five discs in the French rap genre. Jimmy made albums with Democrates D, Les Sages Poetes de La Rue, Sleo, and Menelik in 1995 and worked with Mathieu Kassovitz on the film La Haine. He released Les Cool Sessions, Vol. 2 in 1996 and collaborated with other MCs until the following year, reappearing with his most visible efforts in 2002 and 2006. Jimmy Jay may occasionally recede in prominence, but he can always be counted on to return, breaking beats for the pleasure of listeners' ears.