Herbie Hancock & Thundercat Talk Flying Lotus Collaboration

Just mentioning a legend like Herbie Hancock among new classics like Flying Lotus, Thundercat & Pharell is a thirst trap.

As a group, their collection of credentials is out of this world. Herbie Hancock belonged to the Miles Davis Quintet from 1963 to 1968. Flying Lotus’s lineage alone is epic, as he is the grand-nephew of Alice & John Coltrane and son of Marilyn McLeod, author of Diana Ross’s Love Hangover. Thundercat has worked closely with Kendrick Lamar, Erykah Badu and Kamasi Washington. And, lastly, Pharell. Pharell is the vampire that helped make being a N.E.R.D.-y Black kid cool.

The magic here is twofold: on one hand, you have musicians that cite Herbie as an inspiration, getting to work with the living legend himself. On the other hand, you have a living legend getting to work with his musical offspring– artists that might not exist in this scope without his influence. There exists now a rising movement of jazz/R&B/hip-hop infusion laced with a bit of electric sound so amazing and inclusive it’ll have you living in three decades at once. It’s revolutionary in the way that fusing disco sounds with breaks and rhymes was revolutionary in the 70s and 80s. Thundercat even recalls a sort of full circle moment when he and Lotus got the chance to play J. Dilla’s/Slum Village’s “Get Dis Money“, for Herbie Hancock, which sampled Hancock’s “Come Running to Me.

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Of this new(ish) sound, Hancock explains in a Billboard interview,

“There’s a scene that’s happening, kind of an underground movement that’s given partially to a connection to jazz or a new form of jazz,” Hancock explains. “It’s very difficult to definite (define it?) because what’s involved is very often hip-hop and rap and electronics and jazz elements, classical elements. It’s pretty broad-based, very open. It touches on the experimental while at the same time touches on the street. So I’m very intrigued. I feel I have something that I might be able to kind of bring along and add a little bit to the sauce with a lot of these young voices, so let’s see what we come up with.”

Long story short, Herbie Hancock is looking to put forth a new project (soon, hopefully, but not too soon), and has mentioned wanting to collaborate with the aforementioned artists. Hancock has, however, worked with Flying Lotus before, a little over a year ago on a track called Moment of Hesitation (on FlyLo’s You’re Dead!).

Outside of a slight reference to his last record, 2010’s The Imagine Project, Mr. Hancock has not yet announced a clear focus for his new album. Hancock told Billboard,

“There’s several ideas that are passing through my sights. But I’ve been trying to do a new album for four years, and there’s been little bits and nibbles but no time to do a record. It’s been going on way too long so I finally said, “OK, enough of this’ and I’m not gonna do anything else but (the album) for awhile.”

I’ll admit, I had to give myself a refresher course on these artists, just so I could rant and rave about them justly. Not even a few tracks into my “research,” I found myself STRESSED– eyebrows furrowed, trying to figure out where they got the nerve to be so presently funky and still manage to revitalize a decades-old groove. My point is, you owe it to yourself to keep your ears open for whatever Herbie and these young cats put out– if not for these artists and their singular potential, at least for their collective seismic energy. I’d bet money, you won’t regret it. And, please believe, the Hive will be in your ear with awesome reviews and other inside scoop as the album develops!