Robert Glasper Q&A | F*** Yo Feelings Mixtape

by Nate Rynaski

Recently released alongside a mini-documentary on the project, Fuck Yo Feelings, is the new mixtape from Robert Glasper and a massive lineup of collaborators, friends that Glasper invited to his studio in the span of two days. The mixtape, from Loma Vista, features figures such as YBN Cordae, Mick Jenkins, Denzel Curry, Bilal, and SiR to name a few. Peeking out of the R&B and jazz world, the Grammy award-winner Glasper flexes his hip-hip muscles on this new release and speaks with Flaunt on the experience.

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How was the experience of creating your mixtape, Fuck Yo Feelings, and collaborating with such a variety of artists in such a short amount of time? 

It was an amazing experience. This is where I’m most comfortable: not knowing what’s going to happen, getting people in the room and just going. Most of my shows are like that. My bands don’t really rehearse. If anything, we do a little soundcheck and kind of run over stuff, but most of the time half of what you hear is made up on stage. I never want to get bored and I want to keep the audience on their toes and I figured if I’m on my toes then the audience has to be too. I never like to be comfortable; I always like to leave it open-ended, especially when you have musicians you trust. You can do that and feel okay because you know whatever happens is going to be great. When you add in the great artists I collaborate with, it’s just an extra component that makes it that much doper. That’s how my live shows are, too. People just roll up and they jump on stage and we go—we see what happens. It doesn’t even have to be a song that they know or anything. We’ll make things up on the spot. I wanted to try to get that feeling and vibe on wax. It was awesome to sit back and watch it myself, even though I was a part of it.

What have you learned from the community of artists that you have surrounded yourself with - especially the artists that you worked with for your mixtape? 

What I’ve learned is that there are people who, no matter how famous or important, are still people in the higher echelon of stars or artists, but at the same time there’s no ego. At the end of the day, music is the purpose. True music and feeling the music and sharing the music is at their core, and the people I’ve rocked with on this mixtape are a testament to that. It reminds me that there are still great artists out there that are still about the music and that’s super important and inspiring.

When you think about somebody like Herbie, who’s literally my favorite musician, the fact that he took the time to come and hang out with us and vibe with us means so much to me. So I definitely take a page out of his book for sure and hang out with the young cats and pass on knowledge and inspire people because that’s what it’s about.

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There is no label for the style of music that you create - it is a creative blend of jazz, hip-hop, and R&B, but what concepts of jazz do you always see or incorporate into your music?

The backbone of the concept of jazz I always incorporate in my music, no matter what, is being in the moment at all times and being open to change, being open to something happening. Being opening to a mistake because a mistake can lead to something great, but you have to be open it and have the courage to be okay with making mistakes and the only way you can really make a mistake is if you’re trying to do something that’s out of what the norm is. I always try to have that edge even when I'm playing hip hop, R&B, and jazz. The backbone is always listening and sharing—sharing with other musicians and having that thought process, so jazz is really like a mindset. It’s not necessarily a style, I feel like it’s more of a mindset. 

You have held a huge role in the music industry by stepping out of the box and fusing different genres together. How do you hope it affects your listeners and the industry?

I really just hope that it loosens people up and open their ears so genres don’t have to be so “genre” if that makes any sense. It doesn’t have to be ‘oh that’s jazz, that’s this, that’s this’ necessarily. Things can be blended and people can feel a certain way, and it allows them to step over into the jazz world and see what that’s about; it allows some jazz people to step over to the r&b world and see what that’s about. It allows you to step over into the hip hop world and see what that’s about. You get a little taste of everything so it just widens your palette. The more music you’re privy to, the better your life can be. So that’s pretty much where I’m coming from. When I do this, it’s not to prove anything. It’s not for a purpose necessarily. It’s literally just the music that’s in me and I’m getting it out. I’ve studied all these genres of music and played with masters of all these genres so this isn’t something I woke up thinking “I’m going to do this and this because it’s cool” or “I want to prove a point.” This is literally what’s in me. I always say that black music is a big house and I just want to go room to room in the house. So that’s kind of what I’m doing. If someone can learn something while I’m doing it, fine, but my main purpose is to make people feel good. My main focus is I want my music to do something for your life, whatever that is. That’s number one for me. 

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Fuck Yo Feelings is out now on Loma Vista


Photos by Miles Bitton, courtesy of Biz 3