If you’re anything like me you’re always in search of new music that can fill the same role that old music does but keep you stimulated with fresh sounds. Robert Glasper Experiment’s upcoming album Black Radio is exactly that — a jazzy, bluesy, hip-hop and r&b influenced collection of music that’s as much familiar as it is refreshing. It’s that kind of music that’s nice to wake up to, clean the house to, play while you’re putting effort into a home-cooked meal, or set the mood with soothing sounds.
For those who aren’t familiar, Robert Glasper Experiment is more of a band than a group: Robert Glasper is on the keys, Casey Benjamin on the sax and vocoder, Derrick Hodge on the bass, and Chris Dave on drums. This is real instrumentation made even better by a line-up of featured vocalists and emcees that reads like a who’s who in black music.
Erykah Badu sings the jazz standard “Afro Blue,” Stokely Williams from Mint Condition croons “Why Do We Try,” and Yaslin Bey (oh you know, Mos Def) raps the title track “Black Radio.” Lupe Fiasco, Bilal, Ledisi, Lahlah Hathaway, and a host of others also contribute, and the album ends with a cover version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” It’s nothing short of awesome.
Check out the first single, “Ah Yeah,” featuring Musiq Soulchild and Chrisette Michelle, and listen to the whole album over at NPR.