I have probably talked about this album enough already to show how excited I am for this release. Robert Glasper Experiment releases their first full length album that cannot be described as any one genre. The album draws from jazz, hip hop, R&B and rock (they cover smells like teen spirit by Nirvana). Lets first talk about the amazing lineup of special guests, including Erykah Badu, Bilal, Lupe Fiasco, Lalah Hathaway, Shafiq Husayn, KING, Ledisi, Chrisette Michele, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), Musiq Soulchild, Meshell Ndegeocello and Stokley Williams. This lineup in itself should get you very stoked to check out the album. These featured artists paired with pianist Robert Glasper, saxist Casey Benjamin, bassist Derrick Hodge, and my personal favorite, drummer Chris Dave is jaw dropping. I can say that Chris Dave is one of the most talented drummers I have heard in a long time. Here’s a taste of Chris Dave.
For the people who see the names Lupe and Mos Def, their features will not disappoint. To be honest, I think Lupe hasnt really put out any noteworthy material since food and liquor. Look at his attempt to rap over lights by bassnectar or M83’s Midnight City. I dont know what he was thinking, but his track Always shine is respectable. Mos Def does what Mos does and absolutely killed it on the track, Black Radio, found below.
The great thing about this album is how accessible it is to all types of listeners. For the devoted jazz fans you will find the find the bands combination of different styles enthralling, for hip-hop heads you get to experience a new side of Lupe and Mos that you may not be used too, the quiet jazz rendition of Nirvana’s Smells Like teen Spirit showcases the bands talent to defy genre boundaries and create an album that every listener will enjoy. To check out some more tracks from the album, click here. All in all, I can already say that this is going to be one of my favorites of 2012. Whats more, if you buy the album on Itunes you get a bonus track covering the A Love Supreme by John Coltrane. The bonus track can be streamed below.
It’s February seventh and the birthday of the late and great James Dewitt Yancey, also known as J Dilla and Jay Dee. It is also the birthday of the late producer Nujabes, who I will post on sometime later today. J dilla died at age 32 from the disease lupus and a rare disorder called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) which causes blood clots to form in your blood vessels. In the summer of 2005 Dilla was hospitalized in LA, he could not walk and was barely able to talk. While hospitalized, and knowing that his time left was short, Dilla began to produce his last album Donuts. Donuts was released on Stones Throw on February 7, 2006, his 32nd birthday. Dilla died three days later. His mother, Maureen Yancey (Ma Dukes), said of his death “I rejoiced in the fact that he wasn’t sick anymore, and that he’d done what he came here to do. I believe that. His purpose on earth was to come here and give us the music that he had in his heart and soul.”
The first track that I heard produced by Dilla was Fantastic 3 off of the Slum Village classic album Fantastic, Vol. 1. Slum Village consisted of rappers Baatin, T3, and producer J Dilla. The three grew up together and the album was finished in 1996 but not officially released until 2005. The rapping throughout the album is consistent but what makes Fantastic stand out is Dilla’s production. If you haven’t heard of Dilla, this is the best place to start off your journey of listening to all the music that he has produced. It is certainly a wonderful challenge.
From the trance like melodies in Fantastic 3 to the heavy hitting snare in Look of Love to the soulful clap of Players, Dilla was a genius behind the beat. Dilla was a master at finding the most unique samples and creating something beautiful. One of my favorite samples that he uses is in a track with Erykah Badu called Didn’t Cha Know. Dilla sampled Tarika Blue’s Dreamflower off of her Best of LP. I’l put it at the bottom of this post along with a tribute medley for Dilla made by one of my favorites, Knxwledge.
Knxwledge tribute to Dilla. He says this in his typical cryptic writing
Happy listening, and if you havent yet, I highly recommend that you start sifting through the massive collection of tracks produced by this man.
RIP J Dilla