Hip-Hop Roots [Roy Hargrove]
Today I wanted to highlight a side of Hip-Hop that gets little to no attention anymore. Jazz has always been dubbed the grand-daddy of Hip-Hop. We often mention the soul/funk/jazz singer James Brown when it comes to creatives that gave rise to the Hip-Hop art-form. What we rarely do is contrast how both movements have continued to play off each other since those inception years.
The RH Factor - Hard Grove(2003) Up until this point Roy Hargrove, a matured premier Trumpet player of his day, was seen as mostly a jazz musician. This project wasn't well received by the Jazz community at that time, and he was ridiculed for making such an off traditional sounding form of Jazz Album. For me, as a Jazz major in school and a hip-hopper in the streets, this album changed my life.
We must remember that Jazz itself was a rebellious form of art meant to deviate from the more structured big band sound of the mid-19th century. Jazz is undoubtedly a black sound, created and performed by black musicians. Fast forward to Hard Grove and we see that Jazz's sound has clearly been put in a box by the genre's ruling establishment.
The story doesn't end there as this Jazz-Hip-Hop fusion has continued to blossom with more popular brands such as Robert Glasper (Black Radio) & Snarky Puppy. It is clear though, that these groups lean closer to Jazz than Hip-Hop bands like The Roots.
All this to say that Hip-Hop is probably one of the last pieces of expression left for this generation's era to hold unto. The sound will change as the younger take reign, the message will deviate from what we once defined as truth, but as long as it comes from the heart of a true rebel with a cause, it is Hip-Hop.