Robert Glasper Experiment 'Black Radio 2'
Music Prodigy Touches Down In London To Talk New Album
How are you feeling and what sort of reactions have you been getting since the Release of 'Black Radio 2'?
I am feeling good! The reactions have been really cool mostly great. People were saying ‘how are you gonna follow up after Black Radio 1’ I was saying the same shit- I was like what the fuck am I gonna do? But people wanted another record so I did it and it’s great that they love it just as much as the first one and I got really good feedback, well people like it they bought it and it went number two in the R&B charts!
Obviously it’s a sequel to 'Black Radio' which was critically acclaimed, had a massive reaction and won a Grammy Award for Best R&B album... how difficult did was it to follow that up?
After winning the Grammy it put us in the R&B world and R&B people are looking at us now. Before we put an album out we have to now we have to format our whole game plan. I am used to a jazz game plan but now my whole game plan has to be R&B so I figured the only way that I could do another record like it is to change some elements, make some things different to the first 'Black Radio'. It had a lot of covers, half of the record was covers so I said I’m gonna concentrate on song writing and have originals , so this was all originals except for one or two songs. Then I said I want to make this album more R&B, soul hip-hop so there is less of a looseness jazzy feel, the first album was more loose and the jazz part was kinda obvious, in the way that we were doing it this one. It sounds more produced more like, hey these are songs you know what I mean, so that was my purpose.
You have just mentioned a few different genres of music categories that you fall into Hip-Hop, bit of R&B bit of Jazz bit of neo-soul... what would you categorise yourself as or can’t you?
I would say that I am a bit of everything... I would say that I am a jazz musician that can play everything...
Wow that’s a nice summary that’s impressive...
Yeah you know fuck it, I think that’s what it is because when you play jazz it gives you the tools to play everything because technically you can! It gives you a feel thing that a lot of people don’t have... whereas when they play R&B it doesn’t feel good...and there is a feel thing with Hip-Hop... and that’s the part that Jazz musicians have to get together or work that out. I make it feel good. Do you know what I mean and because I grew up with the music I know how it is supposed to feel. You know what I mean...
Now on the record you feature many legends and incredible musicians. What was the process behind including them on the record... you have Snoop Dogg, Emeli Sande, Jill Scott, Norah Jones...?
Well with the first 'Black Radio' I knew everybody so I literally text everybody like ‘Yo...I’m doing a record’.
So you got it like that?!
Yeah for the first one!
I had a twitter campaign thing I did and I knew that I wanted Brandy, I wanted Faith, I wanted Anthony Hamilton... I don’t know them. I wanted it to be organic told all my fans that everyone who is a fan of Faith, Brandy and Anthony to tweet them and tell them that they need to be on Robert Glasper’s 'Black Radio Volume 2' and thousands of people got involved. I said tweet them and then get them to tweet me that they are down... Faith tweeted me that she’s down, Brandy tweeted me that she is down and Anthony tweeted me that he was down...!
Bingo there you go!
So it was the people and they felt that they had a hand in it because I also asked them... before I made 'Black Radio 2'... who d y’all wanna hear... who do y’all want on 'Black Record 2' and funny the overwhelming response was Dwele! I knew Dwele so I just called him up... also one of my friends was like this with Snoop Dogg, Snoop was a fan of 'Black Radio' my boy called me and said I just got in the car with Snoop he is listening to 'Cherish The Day'. I asked him if he will be on 'Black Radio 2' and he was like ‘Yeah nephew’ (in Snoop voice) so justthings like that and other people I pretty much knew like I’ve known Common I knew for years...
Will they be a 'Black Radio 3'?
I don’t know if there will be a 'Black Radio 3'. I don’t wanna be like Rocky and be like 'Black Radio 7'! So I’m waiting to see what this record does and what the response is, I think I’m gonna keep 'Black Radio' going for a while but just do concepts of records. I want to do a gospel album so 'Black Radio Gospel', something like that! Maybe get away from the numbers but just Black Radio whatever, like Black Radio Ballads...Soul Songs...something like that.
'Black Radio'... where did you even get that from?
It came from a song that Mos Def and I wrote in 2006 recorded on 'Black Radio' 1.
It’s basically about the black box or black radio in an aircraft when an aircraft crashes and it is burning up or whatever, the black box or black radio survives the crash and tells you what happens to the plane gives you the info that’s why people can tell what happens when a plane crashes because they retrieve the black box they can still hook it up to a computer and it can tell you something like the left engine went out... it’s in every plane! It survives from burning fires. He had a joke-if that survives plane crashes why don’t they make a whole plane out of that?! That was his vibe...
When music is crashing and burning great music always survives, great music will always be around...
Catch Robert Glasper at Hammersmith Apollo 12th March 2014. Get tickets here.