I recently stumbled across a video of pianist Robert Glasper declaring “why jazz is the mother of hip hop” in a 2019 Jazz Night in America video. Robert Glasper on jazz and hip-hop.
As far as I’m concerned, I don’t need this explanation at all. If you listen to the samples from DJs like Africa Bambaataa from the early hip-hop era, it’s clear to me that jazz DNA runs in hip-hop’s veins. And it doesn’t take a look across the pond or into the past to find the connection between hip-hop and jazz. All you have to do is listen to young jazz drummers like Silvan Strauss. Album “Facing” by Silvan Strauss
For a long time I’ve found it difficult to regard jazz or any other form of music as a closed genre. The attribution of different music to fixed genres is an artificial (not artistic) construct.
The limitation and attempts to legitimize jazz in contrast to popular music regularly make me suspicious and the sniffling when it comes to hip-hop music raises a few questions for me. Isn’t it easier to relate jazz and hip-hop, be it historically or musically, than to distinguish them? And wouldn’t it be wiser in the constant debate about the high average age of jazz fans to refrain from thinking in a reactionary way?
Because if you take a realistic and contemporary look at the whole thing, you realize that young people have jazz standards in their ears because of the hip-hop samples and are not even aware of it. What they are aware of, however, is that MCs and DJs are playing music for the future, constantly exaggerating themselves and mutually increasing, thus fueling innovation in the scene and giving young people an orientation towards the future. Rappers battle each other with virtuosity during the cypher; Freestyle means improvisation, means innovation. And we know that from somewhere.
All of this can be acknowledged, the spirit that wafts through this music can be bundled and the potential that lies in the innovative capacity of jazz and hip-hop can be used to shape a beneficial future for the big picture.