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Album Review: Robert Glasper Experiment – Black Radio 2

3 min read

So what do you do when your music lands you a Grammy award? You keep making more! And that’s exactly what Robert Glasper did as he comes back with his sixth studio album Black Radio 2. Showing no sign of stopping, Glasper collaborates with other talented musicians like Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, Lupe Fiasco and Norah Jones, to name a few, in his new album. With Black Radio gaining a lot of success since its 2012 release, we come to the final months of 2013 with Black Radio 2, and seems to be just as promising as his previous works.

Robert Glasper Experiment - Black Radio 2With it’s unique blend of jazz piano with hip hop and RnB, the first time I listened to Glasper’s music I knew I never have to worry that it’ll be too generic or repetitive. Black Radio 2 is an album that really highlights its jazz roots, with the combination of the RnB and Hip Hop genre to create a smooth overall sound.

Black Radio Introduction sets up with the audience with a jazz piece, completely instrumental with the piano taking centre stage.  It eases us into the second track I Stand Alone. Common raps over Glasper’s arrangement, with Patrick Stump joining along in the chorus. As we hit the bridge a completely spoken section is played with a powerful message about conformity and the need to originality. I Stand Alone was a piece that struck me as one that solidifies the image of Glasper’s music.

Down the track list we see Snoop Dogg and Lupe Fiasco working together in Perservere. This act combines the distinct sound of Dogg’s rapping with Fiasco’s soothing vocals. Fiasco’s vocal work really stands out in this piece as his voice is repeatedly played through a distorted filter, acting like a chorus, and later on scats to the end of the track.

In Let It Ride we see the collaboration of two exceptional jazz musicians working as one, as Glasper joins forces with Norah Jones. Jones’ sweet voice follow the drum rolls as the song itself seems to pick up locomotion as it progresses.

My favourite thing about Glasper’s music is that it introduces me to new artists. I know the artists above, and the likes of Brandy and Faith Hill, songs such as Calls, Yet To Find and Somebody Else bring me to Jill Scott, Anthony Hamilton and Emeli Sande. Glasper’s work acts like a musical profile, bringing out the essence of each artist he performs with and from him I hear these musicians stripped to their core and their personality shines in the they’re songs. It may just be me, but I’m sure Glasper’s music is great gateway to the talented acts of today.

The last track on the album brings out a more religion tone. With Lala Hathaway and MJW, in Jesus Children we hear the rich vocals sing about our relationship with God. The ending was inevitable, but with Glasper’s recent success, I doubt the man will be leaving the music scene anytime soon. There’s no reason for him to. Scheduled to be touring this November in US, and making an appearance at the Eventim Apollo in London March next year, Glasper’s act is a must to any jazz, RnB or hip hop fan.

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