Back to Life: Estelle, Erykah, Marsha Ambrosius + Questlove Honor Soul II Soul

Words by Jesse Serwer, via Okayplayer

Among the performances on Monday night’s VH1 Divas broadcast, a definite highlight was Estelle, Erykah Badu, Marsha Ambrosius’ tribute to one of my personal favorite groups of all time, Soul II Soul. Backed by Okayplayer’s own don dada Questlove on the decks, the ladies version of “Back to Life” was entirely too short, (at just 2:30, vs. the usual 3:48 that the song clocks in at), but, thanks to Quest’s built-from-scratch recreation of its distinctive drums, it came off quite smooth. We’re just glad to see some Caribbean representation at this thing. But where were Jazzie B and Caron Wheeler, though?

In case you didn’t know where Britain’s greatest soul group has its roots (Hint: Jamaica), this DJHistory.com interview with Jazzie can fill you in. The clip’s below and, for the benefit of you young’uns that might not know what we’re fussing over, we’ve included the original version of “Back to Life” that rocked our own young worlds in ’89.