Though Robert Glasper Experiment is a fairly new entity, Glasper himself has been experimenting in genre mash-ups for his entire musical career. First and foremost a jazz pianist, Glasper grew to love hip-hop and began to incorporate it into his music. He's played in a jazz trio and toured the world playing at jazz festivals, but recently, he's become renowned for his ability to mix unlikely elements into something startlingly original — even if he's covering the work of another artist.
Glasper's latest album, Black Radio, features a who's-who of modern black singers and rappers. Its title comes from the idea that the black box, or black radio, in a plane is the only part to survive a crash — Glasper wanted to make something that would survive the crash he saw in the quality of music around him. He facilitated collaborations that re-imagined how jazz, hip-hop, blues, soul and rock could be combined, inviting some of the top musicians in those genres to help him. The result is a genre-defying, airtight collection of creative, experimental tracks. Listen to a live performance featuring tracks from Black Radio on today's episode of World Cafe.