Evan Dale // Nov 30, 2017
Methods considered perhaps more traditionally musical seem to be becoming more commonplace in hip-hop in the form of artists contributing instrumentally to the performance and production of their music. The artists taking advantage of instrumentation are contributing heavily to the expansion of the genre by relating to fan bases of other stylings like jazz, funk, rock, and electronic. When discussing instrumental and experimental artists associated with a hip-hop sound, Anderson .Paak is arguably one of the most recognizable and influential names to consider, and to be honest, it would be unfair to cage such a broad artist under the sole banner of hip-hop. .Paak, among many other modern artists, are defying traditional virtues of genrefication. These artists are too well-rounded to be tied down to any one genre, and because of their diversity and talent range, they are able to connect traditional audiences across the musical spectrum while broadening the horizons of fans everywhere.
Fans of hip-hop who enjoy listening to an Anderson .Paak track might find themselves more willing to explore the worlds of jazz, funk, rock, and electronic. His graceful meshing of genres is largely unparalleled due to his talent as a lyricist, a vocalist, a percussionist, and a producer. In short, he can write, rap, sing, drum, compose, and edit – and he can do all of these things with the best of them. Due to this range of skills, fans across music can relate to his sound and appreciate his talent. Because he is most closely associated with the hip-hop genre, he is able to draw a bridge towards audiences that have historically been standoffish to embrace it while pushing the strict hip-hop audience towards the sounds that they have long been unwilling to explore.
This is not a one-way street, either. Simultaneous to hip-hop artists expanding their talent range and their sound, artists of other genres are also becoming more inspired by and relatable to hip-hop. Like Anderson .Paak, these artists are often too diverse in their ability to be tied down to a single genre, but tend to be most closely associated with one from which they can branch off and expand musical tastes. One of the most fitting examples of an artist’s talent bleeding into hip-hop from another side of the spectrum is the case of the unparalleled trumpeter, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah. Renowned for his jazz ability, Scott has been steadily releasing projects for a decade and a half that have crowned him one of the most talented artists of his craft while pushing the boundaries of jazz to incorporate stylings derived of modern hip-hop, rock, and electronic. His sound is truly unique and offers fan bases of other genres a relatable bridge to cross into the world of jazz, while allowing more staunch fans of jazz a glimpse into the similarities that other genres may share with it.
Having the talent and range of ability that it takes to exist as a bridge between traditional musical genres is a difficult trait to possess. Not many artists in the world have what it takes to excel within their own genre, let alone be talented enough to be embraced by fan bases of other stylings as well. But it does seem to be becoming more common. Not only do Anderson .Paak and Christian Scott possess such traits, they also happen to bridge the same genres – albeit often in opposite directions. .Paak guides listeners from hip-hop and funk towards jazz, electronic, and rock while Scott guides his audience from jazz and electronic towards rock and hip-hop. This is precisely why collaboration between the two artists would be extremely powerful.
Between the silky vocals, dreamy lyricism, and high energy of Anderson .Paak and the experimental, raw, and powerful composition of Christian Scott, a collaboration project between the two would result in a project that would not only continue to push the bounds of hip-hop and jazz while bridging both genres with others around the musical spectrum, but would also result in a project that could come to define this non-genre era of methodological meshing. The two have also become some of the most consistent and influential artists in music in the past several years, releasing a combined six albums and dozens of features since 2015.
And it doesn’t stop there. A collaborative project between the two wouldn’t only be for the sake of changing the course of music. Collaboration between the two simply makes sense and would produce a beautiful, fun, groovy album that fans of hip-hop, jazz, rock, and electronic would undoubtedly enjoy. .Paak’s history as a percussionist and his past collaborations with his live band The Free Nationals and with producers KAYTRANADA and Knxledge prove his prowess as a collaborator as well as his prowess as a rock and electronic artist. Work with all of these artists has come to define him as an indefinable musician capable in many different sectors of music.
These sectors – hip-hop, jazz, electronic, and rock, happen to be the same areas of music that Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah is renowned for utilizing in his sound. Although predominantly associated with jazz, all of Scott’s projects are also heavily influenced by hip-hop and rock. He also dabbles in experimental electronic production such as the effects applied to his song IDK from one of his three 2017 albums, Diaspora. As a prominent jazz artist, all of his work is naturally littered with featured efforts that prove that he too is a master of collaboration.
Jazz and hip-hop have a long history with one another. Since rap’s beginnings, jazz composition has been a primary backdrop for hip-hop’s poetry to ride and the two have always seemed to share some mutual respect. Hip-hop artists utilize jazz because of its range, unique sound, and cultural relation while jazz as a whole understands and embraces that hip-hop’s roots are tied closely to jazz music. So it is no surprise that a collaborative effort between a jazz trumpeter and a hip-hop artist could be highly successful. For a reference just think of DJ Kool’s 1996 anthem: Let Me Clear My Throat.
Listening to any of the three albums Christian Scott released in 2017 alone, one can hear his composition begging for the vocals of a talented singer and songwriter, but any average artist would get swallowed up by the complexity of his music. That is why such an artist would need to be well versed in the world of jazz music, possess instrumental capabilities of their own, and have the jazzy and funky vocal chops necessary to stand out from the complexities of the composition itself while simultaneously respecting and acknowledging it. Look no further than Anderson .Paak who not only fits the bill vocally, but could also supply the percussion on the jazz composition, culminating in pure collab elation for all who listen.