Old School Hip-Hop with a Modern Twist

If like me you feel as though the zenith of hip-hop and rap occurred in the 90s when East Coast and West Coast Rappers dueled for cultural supremacy and relevance and Southern Rap slowly ear-wormed its way into our hearts and consciousness, then the Robert Glasper Experiment’s Black Radio will bring a huge smile to your face.  Evocative of the populist and eclectic sounds of BlackStar and Tribe Called Quest fused with an musical appreciation and sampling of the fecund and lush orchestration of 70s era Soul, Jazz and R&B, a sort of hybrid of the Roots and the Bad Plus, this record is a pleasing anodyne to the overly-produced, auto-tuned hip-hop of the current day.  For those keeping track at home, there is also a strange kinship between this record and the 70s AM nostalgia of Wilco’s Being There and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot — a feeling as though we are listening to a recently excavated radio broadcast from a lost time.  (Plus, the album concludes with a killer rendition of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit” — an apropos track to reinterpret and hear on this the anniversary of the birth of the late, great Kurt Cobain (rest in true peace dear sir).)

Check out the full record at NPR’s First Listen:  Robert Glasper Experiment’s Black Radio.

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