Monday 21 October 2019

'F Yo Feelings' by Robert Glasper

Robert Glasper will surely go down as one of the most prolific musicians and artists of his generation.  Just looking at his output since the crossover success of the Robert Glasper Experiment's 'Black Radio' in 2011, the years since have been filled with two further albums by the Experiment ('Black Radio 2' and 'ArtScience'), two solo albums ('Covered' and 'Everything's Beautiful'), a couple of remix EPs, collaborative projects (August Greene, R+R=Now)... throw in a clutch of Grammies and countless collaborations with singers/rappers/musicians including Terrace Martin, Seun Kuti and Keyon Harrold.

This year sees the release of 'F__k Yo Feelings' - the "mixtape" comprising of 19 songs seeing Glasper paired with Derrick Hodge on bass and original RG Experiment member, Chris Dave, on drums.  As a core trio, 'F__k Yo Feelings' plays host to a slew of other artists as diverse as rapper Mick Jenkins to the legendary Herbie Hancock.  There's a heavy slant on hip-hop throughout, perhaps where his concept for this project being presented as a mixtape originated from: the free-flowing nature of songs and collaborations being what the inspiration actually rests in as opposed to the middle fingers in the air concept of the title.  Exploring that latter notion a little further, it's hard to really even ascertain who or what this vitriol is aimed at - there are songs where it perhaps seems relevant (as in 'Endangered Black Woman') but excessive swearing and F bombs can sometimes be a little misplaced and a little jarring at times.  [I really remember being young and cool once but clearly those days are gone!]

Even though Glasper and Chris Dave have continued to make music together post Dave's Experiment days (whose exit led the way for Mark Colenburg to enter the fold), hearing the results of the two of them together again for a full project is all the selling points this reviewer really needs for this album and, sonically, there's a lot here that bring me back to 'Black Radio' and how much I loved that project.  Some of the unmissable highs include the tracks 'All I Do' (featuring SiR, Bridget Kelly and Songbird), 'Treal' (with Yasiin Bey), 'Gone' (featuring YBN Cordae, Bilal and Herbie Hancock) and perhaps the slightly too short title track (featuring Yebba).

As exemplified in the opening of this review, Glasper's eclecticism always leaves the question "what's he going to do next?", and while history would prove we certainly won't have to wait long, we have this excellent release to listen to while we bow our heads and hope muchly for 'Collagically Speaking 2'.

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