A Brooklyn-based act that took plenty of time to make an official album debut (and even longer to follow it up), hip-hop duo Jigmastas were nevertheless fairly well-known by the time they released their first full-length outing early in 2001. That was partly due to the pair's much-hyped appearances in their native Big Apple, but owed even more to the production work of DJ Spinna. Renowned throughout the '90s for his cut-creating and remixing abilities, he worked with Mary J. Blige, Mos Def, De La Soul, Les Nubians, and a host of others. Spinna had been friends with MC Kriminul since the mid-'80s, and the two struck up an official partnership a decade later in between Spinna's outside jobs. Jigmastas debuted on wax with the single "Beyond Real" in 1996; besides becoming an underground hip-hop hit, it also provided the name for the duo's newly formed record label. However, it would still be half-a-decade before an album appeared, as the duo tried to appease their growing fan base with singles like "Last Will and Testimony" (released on the Tommy Boy Black Label) and the EP Grass Roots: Lyrical Fluctuations in 2000.
Finally, the long-awaited Infectious saw the light of day in May of the following year, containing several textbook examples of Spinna's cut-and-paste wizardry, as well as cameos from ex-Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid (on the police brutality-themed "Hollar") and Brand Nubian's Sadat X, who lent his voice to "Don't Get It Twisted." After this auspicious start, however, the duo largely disappeared for the next 15 years before unexpectedly making a return in 2014 with the single "Resurge." Expertly updating their classic sound, it felt like they'd never been away, with Kriminul spitting laid-back, old-school flows over Spinna's smooth, lush jazz-funk backing and trademark speaker-shaking bass. The single landed on Resurgence, a 2016, Barely Breakin' Even release that compiled stray tracks, including some that dated back to 2003. ~ Dan LeRoy