Short video explaining the symbiotic relationship between jazz and hip hop
Jazz Night In America:NPR
Back in the early ’90s, outfits such as the Digable Planets tried to meld jazz with hip hop by rapping over improvising musicians. Almost 20 years later, however, it’s clear that producers such as J Dilla — who created music for the likes of Slum Village, The Pharcyde and Phife Dawg — did a better job of fusing the art forms.
His understated samples shone a light on overlooked compositions. Take Ahmad Jamal’s Swahililand, which is dissected by Robert Glasper in the short NPR video above. J Dilla took a snippet from the 1974 LP Jamal Plays Jamal and added head-nodding beats. The result was De La Soul’s Stakes Is High, a hip hop classic that went on to influence a generation of would-be jazz musicians.
You need only listen to the works of Blue Note’s Glasper or the UK’s Ashley Henry to hear the hand of hip hop in their compositions.
In the film Glasper also dives into the musical etymology of Nas’s The World Is Yours and Slum Village’s Get This Money — and reveals in the process that jazz, once the catalyst for DJs’ hits, can be inspired by hip hop, too.
Ahmad Jamal Trio, I Love Music, The Awakening LP (1970)
Nas, The World Is Yours, Illmatic LP (1994)
Herbie Hancock, Come Running To Me, Sunlight LP (1978)
Slum Village, Get This Money, Fantastic, Vol. 2 LP (2000)
Ahmad Jamal, Swahililand, Jamal Plays Jamal LP (1974)
De La Soul, Stakes Is High, Stakes Is High LP (1996)