Very few people who listen to commercial music can claim to have heard of Robert Glasper. To be honest, I myself I encountered the man after I told a friend I was getting over waiting for Australia’s Ta-ku Beats to drop something new. I ignored the suggestion…and now regret it. I can’t claim that this is a new-age Q-Tip, but for our generation…this is close enough.
The combination of producers Robert Glasper, Karriem Riggins and Common on a single album should be something a lot of neo-soul rap fans should appreciate. Honestly, it’s like a time capsule of the early Common on a comfortable couch for his content. Karriem was introduced to J Dilla by Common. Robert worked with J Dilla when he was still with Slum Village. So you can imagine that neo-jazz/soul/rap cross might have you going back to the roots with your thoughts about hip-hop.
With that being said, the chilled vibe on this album had me thinking twice about my entire contemporary music collection. I had started doubting Common coming through lyrically, his choice of content unfortunately seems to rarely resonate with a younger generation. Mick Jenkins, NoName, Chance and other Chi-Town soldiers were doing the ‘poetry with a flow’ vibe for a while and have been winning at it. Common is legendary, and deserves the accolades, but this album seems to reincarnate his entire image for me. His smooth, slightly rough voice introducing the vibe in the beginning with the piano in the beginning of the project…takes the tone on a beautiful sonic landscape.
Then Black Kennedy comes on.
After that it’s such a beautiful journey, I can’t even find a problem off-hand. Admitted. Common’s raps might be seen as monotonous in a sense for the younger ear (I assume it’s cause he ain’t mumbling about drugs), but the message remains. Flow. The things he’s seen in Chicago, and as always “The People”. The beats are just too nice not to bob your head to at least. The choice in musical instruments, the features (I need to find more Samora Pinderhughes) and honestly…the way the entire album is set out, beautiful project really.
Best Songs: Aya; Black Kennedy; Let Go
Written By: Asanda ‘Ace’ Africander