It usually doesn’t take me almost 4 weeks to write a review on a project that I’m fully aware of the release date but since purchasing the Robert Glasper Experiment “Black Radio 2” about a week after the release date of Oct 29, 2013 I been trying to figure out how to carefully review this project with sincere thoughts and not get caught up with the status quo on raving reviews given by other music critics.
Grammy award winner Robert Glasper released his 6th full length project “Black Radio 2” properly named the “Robert Glasper Experiment” with Robert Glasper on Piano. Derrick Hodge- Bass, Casey Benjamin- Sax/Vocoder/Synth & Mark Colenburg- Drums replacing Chris Dave.
The Robert Glasper Experiment is no doubt the Miles Davis of this new music generation and “Black Radio 2” is a continuation of the Grammy winning Best R&B Album of 2013 “Black Radio” which infused Jazz, Hip-Hop, Soul (neo), R&B, Rap (Poetic) & rock alternative all into one although you hear these elements in “Black Radio 2” but unlike “Black Radio” there is much less improvisation and experimental creativity on this project.
“Black Radio 2” seems more geared in the direction of sounding more commercial & radio friendly appealing more to the mainstream masses especially with featured guests such as Jill Scott, Norah Jones, Snoop Dogg, Macy Gray, Anthony Hamilton & Faith Evans just to name a few. Actually it’s a total of 24 guest appearances from various artists on “Black Radio 2”
My review is based on “Black Radio 2” (Deluxe version) which is an 16 song project. So here goes:
Casey Benjamin does his thing on the vocoder to start it off with the intro “Baby Tonight” then goes into “Mic Check 2” where all the featured artists are saying or singing their Mic Check’s.
“I Stand Alone” f/ Common & Patrick Slump is basically a crossover hip-hop tune something similar to what Jay-Z would do but nothing overly captivating to my ears. 3/5 stars
“What Are we doing Here” f/ Brandy is a funky nice R&B dance floor track 4/5 stars
“Calls” f/ Jill Scott is the current featured hit on the airwaves. The lyrics along with Jill Scott’s vocal arrangements is what makes this song especially if you’re into the whole neo-soul thing. 4/5 stars
“Worries” f/ Dwele another neo-soul groove. very smooth but yet just okay to my ears 3.5/5
“Trust” f/ Marsha Ambrosius- I know I’m gonna catch flack for saying this but I’m not a big fan of Marsha Ambrosius vocals sounds as if she’s really hurting emotionally with all of the whiny frills. Not impressed. 3/5 stars
“Yet To Find” f/ Anthony Hamilton- Another slow but gospel laced song which we all know that’s right up Anthony Hamilton’s alley..Nice song but kind of a lull but Anthony Hamilton’s vocals is what makes this song. 4/5 stars
You Own Me f/ Faith Evans- This is indeed one of my favorite songs on this project hands down 5/5 stars
“Let It Ride” f/ Norah Jones- I didn’t like this song when I first heard it but having listening to it many times over it grew on me because of it’s unique diversity which is what attracted to me about the first project (Black Radio) Very musically artistic with Mark Colenburg on drums. 4/5 Stars
“Persevere” f/ Snoop Dogg, Lupe Fiasco, Luke James- Just an album filler to my ears. It’s okay but could have been left off the project. 2.5/5 Stars
Somebody Else f/ Emeli Sandé- I love this neo-soul/ Hip-hop groove and I love Emell Sandé voice. 5/5 Stars
Jesus Children f/ Lalah Hathaway & Malcolm Jamal Warner- A Stevie Wonder remake and a beautiful job singing by Lalah Hathaway and Poetry by Malcolm Jamal Warner…Actually I’m surprised this song wasn’t featured on the first project (Black Radio) because this is one of those songs that makes the Robert Glasper Experiment worthy of another Grammy 5/5 stars
“Big Girl Body” f/ Eric Roberson- Robert Glasper Experiment once again showing off their diversity and musically this song reminds me of something the Dave Matthews Band would do but the lyrics and Casey Benjamin’s sax playing really sets this song off. 4/5 Stars
“You’re My Everything” f/ Bilal & Jazmine Sullivan- This song is another favorite of mine very smooth and soulful. Nice duet between Bilal & Jazmine Sullivan, Great Song. 5/5 Stars
“I Don’t Even Care” f/ Macy Gray & Jean Grae- Let me just be straight forward and say that I AM NOT A MACY GRAY FAN so points are automatically deducted just for featuring her but as for the song itself…Nothing really captivating just another album filler 2/5 Stars
Lovely Day- A Bill Withers remake and done exceptional well with Casey Benjamin setting it off with his vocoder skills. Another great song. 5/5 Stars
“Black Radio 2” is not a bad project if you are a “True” music lover but to me it’s just okay. I felt a better vibe from “Black Radio” because of the experimental factor unfortunately with “Black Radio 2” there’s not too much experimenting going on with this project but I will say The Robert Glasper Experiment are “True” musicians at its best and if you are a music head especially in the art of jazz you have to see them live in concert in order to hear and appreciate the very essence of their creative works. Truly amazing what they can do with their instrumental craft. Definitely the Miles Davis of this new music generation but also be on the look out for Chris Dave & The Drumhedz who can definitely give the Robert Glasper Experiment a run for their money.
Copyright 2013 – Tony Johnson. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.