NxWorries (Anderson .Paak & Knxwledge) + Robert Glasper + BJ The Chicago Kid at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn
BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY
Robert GlasperRobert Glasper is the leader of a new sonic paradigm with a career that bridges musical and artistic genres. To date, he boasts 3 Grammy wins and 8 nominations across 6 categories, and an Emmy Award for his song for Ava Duvernay’s critically hailed documentary “13th” with Common and Karriem Riggins. Evolution is his hallmark. Glasper’s breakout crossover album Black Radio changed the face of the genre and set a new expectation for what popular music could be. The album won him the Grammy for best R&B album and established him as the musician of choice for some of the world’s most iconic artists; notably playing keys throughout Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly, winning another Grammy for the elastic track “These Walls”. The ongoing Black Radio series has since become Glasper’s calling card, upholding a place at the heart of a trailblazing community: from long-time sonic brothers Mos Def and Bilal, to legends including Ledisi, Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West, Jill Scott, and Erykah Badu. Glasper’s eternal pursuit to further his sound has been consistent in challenging and transforming his creative horizons across the board. Whether producing a remix album with Kaytranda or as a bandleader, Robert consistently defies the limits of the genre. This is evident in a portfolio that ranges from his acoustic jazz trio; which simultaneously defies and elevates the traditional idiom by uniting it effortlessly with electronics from visionary DJ Jahi Sundance, to August Greene; a collaboration with Common + Karriem Riggins, to R+R=Now; a supergroup at the crossroads of hip-hop and Jazz. In the last year alone Glasper has seen a staggering diversity of success. He dropped Fuck Yo Feelings ; a star-studded mixtape; his first on Loma Vista Records; with features ranging from YBN Cordae to Herbie Hancock to Yebba. He created an original score for the Emmy Nominated doc The Apollo and the feature film The Photograph starring Issa Rae. He led a legendary residency at the Blue Note NYC with 56 sold-out shows in 27 days which saw everyone from Dave Chappelle to Tiffany Haddish, Chadwick Boseman, Q-Tip, Anderson .Paak and Angela Davis join him on and off stage. And, alongside long-time collaborator, co-producer, and creative partner Terrace Martin, he formed another dream team supergroup featuring Kamasi Washington and 9th Wonder called Dinner Party, who together wrote and recorded a debut self titled album that was released to rave reviews. With boundless innovation and elite technique as his signature it’s no surprise that Glasper has an avalanche of accolades, awards, and achievements to his name - most recently being asked to play at the 2020 March On Washington with Derrick Hodge and funk legend, Sir George Clinton. In August of 2020, Robert released ‘Better Than Imagined’; the first taste of his hotly anticipated forthcoming Black Radio 3 album. Featuring H.E.R and Meshell Ndegeocello, the song advocates for Black love and the power, and responsibility, we have to improve our world; again demonstrating that, above all, Glasper is an artist at the heart of a moment - and a movement - to champion Black music, Black people, and the possibility of a better future. The hip-hop-head-nod ballad is a dedication to just that: the beauty and brilliance of a heritage that is as much Kendrick as it is Coltrane, and which seeks to empower and uplift with every offering. Both Fuck Yo Feelings And ‘Better Than Imagined” have received Grammy Nominations for the upcoming 2021 Grammy Awards. In his own words: "Black lives matter and so does black love; no one wants a life without love, but we have generations of people in our community who haven't had the tools to actually be in healthy relationships. It seems like people are finally ready to open their eyes to systemic racism in this country, and if we're going to talk about it, we have to also talk about how it affects our relationships, how we communicate, how we see ourselves, how we treat each other. It's not always good, even though maybe it could be." - Robert Glasper
BJ The Chicago KidIt's been a long time coming for BJ the Chicago Kid, and not just because, after four mixtapes and one indie classic, he's now dropping his major-label debut on Motown, the modern yet deeply soulful 'In My Mind.' You've been hearing his voice everywhere though, on the songs by some of the greatest artists of our era (punctuating tracks by Dr. Dre, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, Kehlani and ScHoolboy Q's Grammy Award-nominated smash "Studio."). Notable Collaborations include Vic Mensa, Chance The Rapper, Dom Kennedy, Freddie Gibbs, Ty Dolla $ign, Xzibit and, most recently, OG Maco, Joey Bada$$ and Hannibal Burress. But go back even farther and you'll find BJ was fated for this life. Bryan James Sledge cooed his first note to an audience when he was five years old. His mom was a choir director and his whole family was in the congregation: BJ the youngest of three boys who all sang on Sunday. Yet outside was the constant backbeat of his youth: trunk music, rap and old school soul, the same thump that he'd hear falling asleep at night, and at the whole-block cookouts that happened every Saturday. His dad, though also a choir director, exposed him to that secular inspiration firsthand. By night his father did concert security, and he took his boy to gigs. Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation Tour (the one with the panther) changed BJ forever, and the experience got swirled up with the stuff he heard at home: the Chi-Lites, Luther, Curtis, even Babyface. The kid wrote his first song as a teen. He'd been focused on drums, and you can still hear that in the way his voice clings to the pocket, but, as happens, he caught feelings for a girl and wrote a poem about it. Producer Kevin Randolph, a family friend, saw promise in BJ's pen and mentored him in the ways of song. And when it was time, he helped BJ secure his ticket to Los Angeles. That first job, singing backup with gospel duo Mary Mary, led to studio time (vocals, songwriting) with Lalah Hathaway, Musiq Soulchild, Joe, Mario, and Mary J. Blige, among others. In 2005 alone he went into the booth with Stevie Wonder and onto the Grammy stage with Usher and James Brown. A year later came the big one: Kanye West's "Impossible" for "Mission: Impossible III." It's understandable if you've heard BJ and not known it -- the man's melody is classic and his voice is elastic; he sounds like a sample. But he proved his knack for present-day soul on 2012's self-released album, 'Pineapple Now-Laters,' a diverse collection of songs that moved from a cappella excellence to swaggy rap 'n' blues to the heartfelt "His Pain," featuring Kendrick Lamar. Call it a favor returned -- BJ's on Lamar's 2009 EP, and works with the whole T.D.E. family. ScHoolboy Q's single "Studio" followed, capping an impressive run of collaborations with West Coast legends like Warren G and Xzibit, and Chicago new-schoolers like Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa. BJ's 'M.A.F.E. Project' tape in 2014 broadcast the message: "Music Ain't for Everyone." Of course, BJ was destined for the winner's circle, and just as he came up in a supportive Chicago 'hood, he's been building up his music community steadily. He even pitched in on Dr. Dre's long-awaited Compton on the way to now, but it's his time to shine, and for fans of all those guys to realize they've been fans of BJ all along. 'In My Mind' is the first true open door to his world, to a place where the Bible comes first, but Belly might be second. Where blunts burn and oxtails simmer. It's a window into the psyche of a soul man who watches Tom & Jerry regularly, but keeps up with the bangers from around the way. This man who sings "Church" -- with a hook that so perfectly illustrates the line he walks: "She said she wanna drink, do drugs, and have sex tonight/But I got church in the morning" -- is not so far removed from the so-called kid raised on the Windy City's South Side. Most of all, 'In My Mind' is a set of staggeringly great songs from a man who knows The Classics as well as he does The Now. Take his James Brown flip, "Woman's World," where vintage sound meets modern perspective. Or "Heart Crush," which connects a timeless sentiment (fast love's slow fizzle) with an atmospheric, alt-R&B sound. There's the steamy stuff like "Turnin Me Up," which finds BJ channeling both D'Angelo and Marvin Gaye while leading his live band. And romantic fare like "Shine," a piano ballad tailor-made to weaken knees on deployment. "New Cupid," especially, crisscrosses generation and genre with ease, borrowing the iconic "Oh yeah!" from "Mr. Big Stuff," sampling a Raphael Saadiq cut, and featuring a heartbroken Lamar. 'In My Mind' transcends basic classification -- it's as imaginative as its title implies, but as real BJ the Chicago Kid's love for this music.