The Vibes of Roy Ayers
(Notice how much resemblance there is to Smif-N-Wessun's album cover for Dah Shinin'??!!!!)
Roy Ayers is a legendary musician, and probably is one of the best jazz vibraphonists around. During the 70's he helped pioneer jazz/funk fusion and recorded many classic albums. Many of which have been sampled umpteen times by Hip Hop's elite producers and beatmakers. Such illuminaries as Da Beatminerz and Pete Rock have sampled Ayers works, which in turn have become classics in their own right.
Listening to Ayer's works from the 70's you can't help but to think that he was vastly ahead of his time. He had a funky and oftentimes rough hard Hip Hop sound before Hip Hop even existed. You could even say he was one of the forefathers of Hip Hop. Listen to his catalogue and you won't be able to deny the previous statement. I suggest picking up some of his work if you haven't already, and especially if you make beats.
I have chosen 3 of Ayer's songs that I am currently feeling. All Three of them have been sampled before, so even if you haven't heard these specific tracks before you probably heard them by proxy through Hip Hop by way of sampling and The Low End Theory! ;-)
Step Into Our Life - Roy Ayers & Wayne Henderson
We Live In Brooklyn Baby