Hive Five: Our Daily Listicle of Musical Musings
Jazz pianist Robert Glasper isn’t one for traditional rhythms. The second half of his 2009 album, Double Booked, turned jazz music on its ear with swirling synthesizers and cosmic soul. There's a clear sense that while Glasper is rooted in contemporary art, he’d rather push it into the unknown. His latest full-length album, Black Radio, builds upon his previous work with unconventional R & B and eccentric remakes: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” takes the Nirvana original's already-unintelligible lyrics and filters them through a vocoder, he repurposed David Bowie’s “Letter to Hermoine” with marching drums and floating piano chords and g uest singer Lalah Hathaway added rich vocals to the remake of Sade’s “Cherish the Day.”
Next week, the Robert Glasper Experiment will release Black Radio Recovered: The Remix EP, a six-song collection of reconfigured tracks and expansive collaborations. “Afro Blue,” the Erykah Badu-featured opener of Black Radio, is given new life by producer 9th Wonder’s methodical drums and Phonte’s fluid rhymes. “Consequence of Jealousy,” formerly a slow procession of sultry sighs and ambient keys, is quickened by producer Georgia Anne Muldrow’s wonky blend of West Coast funk. “With the remix EP, I wanted it to be a lot more on the hip-hop side, which is why I chose to work with the producers I worked with,” Glasper tells MTV Hive. “I wanted to give something to the DJs.” Here's Glasper's five favorite hip-hop remixes of all time. Dig in:
1. The Notorious B.I.G., “One More Chance”
When that came out, that might have been the first time I ever heard something that was R & B and hip-hop at the same time. I was on my way to pick up my stepbrother from work. It was a long drive, like an hour-and-a-half drive. Then that joint came on and I was like, “What the hell!” It was so smooth and was sexy, then Big came through with his verse and I was like, “Oh my God!” They used an El DeBarge sample; it’s pretty much verbatim what “One More Chance” is. They pretty much took that beat verbatim and put Biggie’s rhyme over it. It was the feeling of that whole thing, you know. I’d never heard anything like that. The whole vibe of it was crazy.
2. SMV, “Right Here (Human Nature Mix)”
I remember that when I was in ninth grade, I love that joint! “Human Nature” is my favorite Michael Jackson song of all-time. To me, if you chose one Michael Jackson song to represent him, it would be “Human Nature.” I used to love SMV back in the day, too, so when you combine those things, the song moved in a way that was really, really dope. At that point, I’d never heard a Michael Jackson sampled like that. It may have been the first time I heard a Michael Jackson song sampled that became that popular.
3. O.C., Chubb Rock and Jeru the Damaja, “Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers” (produced by DJ Premier)
DJ Premier’s from Houston, and that’s where I’m from. So I’ll always have a special place in my heart when it comes to New York hip-hop. Primo’s a big part of New York hip-hop now, and he’s from Houston. I always tease my people from Brooklyn and the Bronx with that shit. I would joke, “Houston is New York sound!” [Laughs] With that particular song, that’s where ?uestlove got the idea for the “Twice” remix on my EP, even down to the “ding! ding!” that you hear on the track. That came from DJ Premier’s “Crooklyn Dodgers” remix. The drums are so dope, and the chords are all chopped up. That’s why I personally gravitate towards A Tribe Called Quest, Pete Rock and Primo. They tend to use a lot of melodic samples. They’re not just drum and bass.
Again, it’s about the chord changes [Laughs]. The beat is so hard, the beat is crazy, but the keys are going through all these dope chord changes; rhythmically, where he’s placing the chord is really dope as well. It doesn’t really repeat the same way all the time. With a lot of hip-hop tracks, they give you four bars. But with this one, it’s so different from his original version of that track. Dilla was one of those cats that would take jazz albums and chop ‘em up. Then when you heard it, you’d ask, “What is that? Where do I know that sound?”
5. D’Angelo, “Me and Those Dreaming Eyes of Mine (J-Dilla remix)”
A D'Angelo and Dilla combo is always crazy … for many reasons!
Black Radio Recovered: The Remix EP is out October 9 on Blue Note.