* indicates required
Okayplayer News

To continue reading

Create a free account or sign in to unlock more free articles.

By continuing, you agree to the Terms of Service and acknowledge our Privacy Policy

?uestlove Talks Amiri Baraka For The New York Times

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY.

?uestlove talks the legacy of Amiri Baraka following the author/activist's recent passing. He delves into his feelings about a few titles from Baraka's catalog of literary works, discussing his fiery criticism and reflecting on his time in the studio with The Roots during the recording of the Phrenology LP. ?uesto discusses the difficulty in Baraka's words - a particularly hard pill to swallow at times - and the dedication to change that pervades but is often unacknowledged in critical discussions of his works. Noting his personal interaction with the legendary poet within the hallowed halls of New York's Electric Lady Studios, ?uestlove revisits Baraka's addition to the Phrenology LP and elaborates on what he sees below the surface of "Something In The Way Of Things" (In Town). Take a look at the excerpt below for a more intimate look at Amiri Baraka's performance on the Phrenology LP. Read the full article via The New York Times. Scroll down to watch Amiri Baraka discuss his writings and the work of breaking with the norm.

The Roots recorded with Mr. Baraka once. It was for our “Phrenology” album, in 2002, which was titled for the absurd, discredited science of taking a measure of a man’s character by feeling his head. The album was also about racial profiling, social Darwinism, and hip-hop itself: If you’re a hip-hop head, what can you expect from the world, and what can the world expect from you?

We were at Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village, and Mr. Baraka came in to add his vocals, which consisted of reading a poem he had written, “Something in the Way of Things (In Town).” I listened to the track again Friday, after he died, and I hear so many things hiding in the corners of the poem and his performance of it. There are traces of early poetry mentors like Charles Olson, there’s a little William S. Burroughs, there’s a reminder of how he opened the door for poetry to speech to recording long before the Last Poets or Gil Scott-Heron. There’s a devotion to making language mean something, even if — especially if — that something isn’t safe and preapproved.