Minnie riperton at hollywood bowl
Minnie riperton at hollywood bowl
Photo Credit: Paul Liebhardt/Corbis via Getty Images

In Hip-Hop and Beyond: Minnie Riperton [Playlist]

The beloved singer would have been 70-years-old today

Gone too soon, but impossible to forget, Minnie Riperton's music may be singlehandedly responsible for the conception of an entire generation of humans.

First as a backup singer with the Chess Records hit-factory (listen close to Fontella Bass anthemic "Rescue Me" and you'll hear Riperton's falsetto cutting through,) then as the leading lady in Rotary Connection, and eventually, as a legendary standalone voice, recording six cherished studio albums with legendary players (Stevie Wonder, Dorothy Ashby, Joe Sample, Maurice White, Ramsey Lewis, James Gadson, Patrice Rushen, Tom Scott, Greg Philinganes -- literally the gamut of soul, r&b, funk and jazz elite) before her passing at the age of 31, losing a long bout with breast cancer.

Her sound lives on not just in those night-time-is-the-right-time moments, but through the boards and circuits of hip-hop's greatest minds. Riperton's sweet soaring spells, like James Brown's ballistic breaks or Kool & The Gang's iconic horns, define a full era in hip-hop; the jazz-leaning teens of the nineties aughts New York. Naturally, an excavation was in order.

In our latest installment of the In Hip-Hop and Beyond playlist series, we explore the unheralded and impossibly sweet mark of the late Minnie Riperton on what would have been the singer's 70th birthday. With sounds from J Dilla, 9th Wonder, Pete Rock, The Neptunes, A Tribe Called Quest and Kaytranada, it's a testament to a rare bounty in music, a voice that pierces through space and time.

Hear it below.