Robert Glasper Experiment Black Radio 2
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
I thought the first one was much better...Yeah, I said it.
Esperanza Spalding released a recording called Black Radio uh, I mean Radio Music Society and while that particular release was incredibly narrow in scope, it embraced all that is good and culturally significant within the black community. It was a thoughtful and well conceived presentation of an incredibly important perspective most people are lacking given the subject matter. So on to new business.
While light years out of my personal wheelhouse, Black Radio is perhaps the best neo-soul / hip-hop release made in the last decade. If we take that as a legitimate base line of critical review then Black Radio 2 is a release that falls flat while having just a handful of brilliant moments. The saving grace of this release is that a diverse group of stellar vocalists are brought in to allow some flavor to develop, it still remains somewhat disconnected from the first release. Release a second volume or follow up to any recording and there should be a distinct lyrical evolution played out. Black Radio never really evolves into much of anything. I can appreciate the lyrical poetry of some rap artists, amateurish raps about nonsensical topics are a different story.
With Black Radio 2 the jazz community can officially wave goodbye to Glasper as he is now firmly entrenched in the neo-soul / hip-hop vibe where he can lay claim as a legitimate musical force. The force is not with him here.
Good. Not Great. If you are not already a fan, this release will not win you over.
Tracks: Baby Tonight (Black Radio 2 Theme / Mic Check; I Stand Alone (feat. Common, Patrick Stump); What Are We Doing (feat. Brandy); Calls (feat. Jill Scott); Worries (feat. Dwele); Trust (feat. Marsha Ambrosius); Yet To Find (feat. Anthony Hamilton); You Own Me (feat. Faith Evans); Let It Ride (feat. Norah Jones); Persevere (feat. Snoop Dogg, Lupe Fiasco, Luke James); Somebody Else (feat. Emeli Sande); Jesus Children (feat. Lalah Hathaway, Malcolm Jamal Warner); Big Girl Body (feat. Eric Roberson); You're My Everything (feat. Bilal, Jazmine Sullivan); I Don't Even Care (feat. Macy Gray, Jean Grae); Lovely Day.