On their 2012 breakout Black Radio, Robert Glasper Experiment laid out a new paradigm for creative music, reaching beyond entrenched genre boundaries to create a singular vision that drew from all reaches of contemporary black music and beyond. Black Radio drew unanimous praise from critics across the board and earned Glasper the highest chart positions of his career when the album debuted at #10 on Billboard's Top Current Albums chart, also claiming the #1 spot on both the Billboard Jazz chart and the iTunes R&B chart. The album kept earning accolades all the way to the 2013 GRAMMY Awards where Black Radio was awarded Best R&B Album.
On October 28 RGE ups the ante with the release of Black Radio 2 (Blue Note), another genre-defying effort that takes the Black Radio blueprint and builds to even greater heights. The core remains the Experiment, as astoundingly versatile a band as has ever existed, featuring Robert Glasper on keyboards, Derrick Hodge on bass, Mark Colenburg on drums, and Casey Benjamin on vocoder and saxophone. Providing the vocals throughout is another jaw-dropping roll call of vocalists including Common, Patrick Stump, Brandy, Jill Scott, Dwele, Marsha Ambrosius, Anthony Hamilton, Faith Evans, Norah Jones, Snoop Dogg, Lupe Fiasco, Emeli Sand', Lalah Hathaway, and Malcolm-Jamal Warner.
On Black Radio 2, the emphasis is on songwriting with 11 of the 12 tracks new originals, from the soaring lead track "I Stand Alone" featuring rapper Common and vocalist Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy through Jill Scott's sensual ode to connection "Calls" to the reinvention fantasy "Somebody Else" featuring BRIT Award winner Emeli Sand'. The lone cover is the album closer, a spine-tingling version of Stevie Wonder's "Jesus Children of America" by vocalist Lalah Hathaway that also features a poignant spoken word tribute to the 20 young victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting by poet Malcolm-Jamal Warner. The album was produced by Glasper along with executive producers Nicole Hegeman and Eli Wolf.
The track listing for Black Radio 2 is as follows:
1. Baby Tonight (Black Radio Intro)
2. I Stand Alone featuring Common and Patrick Stump
3. What Are We Doing featuring Brandy
4. Calls featuring Jill Scott
5. No Worries featuring Dwele
6. Trust featuring Marsha Ambrosius
7. Yet To Find featuring Anthony Hamilton
8. You Own Me featuring Faith Evans
9. Let It Ride featuring Norah Jones
10. Persevere featuring Snoop Dogg and Lupe Fiasco
11. Somebody Else featuring Emeli Sand'
12. Jesus Children of America featuring Lalah Hathaway and Malcolm-Jamal Warner
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.