I thought this project was so incredibly dope. I loved the fact that they filmed all of the studio sessions and you get to see how these songs came to fruition. This album came out a few years ago, but sometimes I come back and watch these videos for inspiration.
I always enjoy watching artists create in the studio and what their recording process is like. This Blakroc album actually inspired a project of my own entitled “The Turnaround.” With all the many collaborations and mashup of sounds, Blakroc is definitely worth revisiting. My favorite episode is the one with The RZA. They definitely need to come put with Part 2. Check all of them out!
Damon Dash and Mos DeF
Blakroc (stylized as BlakRoc) is a studio album by American rock band The Black Keys, in collaboration with Damon Dash, co-founder and former co-owner of Roc-A-Fella Records, who oversaw the project. The album features guest appearances from several hip hop and R&B acts, namely Mos Def, Nicole Wray, Pharoahe Monch, Ludacris, Billy Danze of M.O.P., Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest, Jim Jones and NOE of ByrdGang, as well as Raekwon, RZA and the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard of Wu-Tang Clan.
After Damon Dash began listening to Ohio-based rock duo The Black Keys, which he says quickly became his favorite band, he reached out to the musicians to meet in person. Dash suggested they enter the studio with his friend and associate, New York City-based rapper Jim Jones, with whom Dash had recently partnered to form Splash Records. While recording with co-producer and engineer Joel Hamilton at Studio G, Brooklyn-bred rapper Mos Def, interrupted the session and ended up recording with them as well.
With new artists being called in to work on the album, it was completed after eleven weeks of recording. Included in the project are vocals from deceased rapper and former Roc-A-Fella Records artist Ol’ Dirty Bastard, tapes which were signed over to his brief Roc4Life venture under Def Jam, with the intention of an eventual album release. In order to release Blakroc, Dash founded an independent record label in conjunction with the band.
The album was generally received well by critics. The album reached Number 1 and Number 7 on the US Billboard Heatseakers chart and US Billboard Top Rap Albums respectively. Nick Neyland of BBC music stated in his review “this is a surprisingly compelling and welcome rejoining of the rap and rock worlds that successfully captures the off-the-cuff nature of the recording sessions.”
Nicole Wray and Jim Jones