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March 20, 2024
Kurt Benson

Welcome to Black Radio Backstage with Robert Glasper and Friends (3 minute read)

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Working with athletes is really cool, and I always remind myself that what we do at Tidal League is such a privilege and a product of our hard work. This past week in Los Angeles, we had the opportunity to work with 5-time Grammy Award Winning Artist Robert Glasper. Now, creating with an artist is much different than an athlete because this is their arena; they are showbiz.

I remember last year in June when I first spoke with Robert's manager about the opportunity to launch a show together. It was surreal because it's a lane we haven't really explored much when it comes to the music industry. However, with our exceptional team and portfolio of original content, Robert and the team were energized by the potential to create a show. We decided to officially partner in July of 2023 and incorporate the already famous and award-winning album "Black Radio" into the title of the show. Welcome, "Black Radio Backstage, with Robert Glasper." After months of planning, we shot season 1 in Los Angeles last week, and it's safe to say that our entire team on set had an absolute blast creating with Robert.

I started this blog by writing about athletes, and that's because it was so different to create with an artist, not in a good or bad way, but just in a different way. It gave our team a unique perspective that we haven't experienced yet at Tidal League. Athletes are creatives in their own world, but artists have such an innate ability to create and be storytellers, and that comes through in Roberts's life work, from his music to the way he scores a film and now through his show. This all started with our set; Robert had asked to meet us the day before filming commenced to view and strategize on set design, something that we had never co-collaborated on before. Special shoutout to our Director Peter Calder, who found the set location, and to William Harrington and Sophia Rooke, who worked with Robert on set design. I must say, having a versatile set makes for a successful shoot, and we had, from the large atrium, that provided enough depth and contrast to the props we used. In our planning, Robert introduced an element to the show that included his long-time friend and DJ, Jahi Sundance.

So, in creating our set, we used two thrones where Robert and the guest would sit face to face, complimented with a full DJ set allowing Jahi to interject and spin throughout the conversations that were taking place, essentially creating a space that allowed for it to feel intimate between Robert and guest, but also giving Jahi the ability to step into the conversation at any time. The set was beautiful; it was unique, and with the assistance of Hong Lau, we were able to create an artistic masterpiece. Now, Robert and Jahi created original music for the show just days prior to filming; that way, we wouldn't run into licensing issues or have to use non-original music. We had music for the intro/outro but also for every segment, which was probably what I loved the most. The segments included the following:

Accidental Genius - simply that, what went wrong at first but ended well/successful. For example, maybe a record that you worked on that turned out to be a hit.

Weird Science – We are living in the future, and you are able to create your spouse in a lab using 5 albums; these albums will be the cornerstone/DNA of their life.

What's on your rider – my favorite segment lol – every guest had a rider, and watching Robert and Jahi freestyle "what's on your rider" was truly entertaining, especially because the guests had no clue it was coming and at times would join in and freestyle with Robert and Jahi.

Rapid fire –  this may sound boring or not original at all, but let me tell you that the curveball stunned every guest with one very different question.

How about the guestlist? We had an exceptional cast that included Lalah Hathaway, Terrace Martin, Thundercat, Kareem Grimes, Affion, BJ the Chicago Kid, and a cameo from Willow Smith. Honestly, it is so entertaining and very insightful to hear these conversations with individuals who have created some of music's most iconic records and even films. On our last day of filming the Dave Chappelle video called Robert and was extremely bummed that he couldn't make season 1 due to scheduling conflicts. So, as we start post-production in order to get this inaugural season ready for launch, I can only imagine what season 2 will bring.

If you haven't listened to any of the "Black Radio" albums, I highly recommend adding them to your playlist; they are truly musical masterpieces. So stay tuned, and share with a friend so you don't miss any news for the upcoming launch of "Black Radio Backstage, with Robert Glasper," a Tidal League Original.

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