Culture Cypher Radio April Chart: On Jazz, Blue Lines, the carrying of tradition and the future of music - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

I’ve spent a great deal of time this month thinking about tradition. Jazz, arguably America’s greatest artistic tradition, has spent much of the last four decades or so being reinvigorated by this country’s newest great artistic tradition; hip-hop. Much of what Culture Cypher Radio is in practice is the intersection and interplay of these two great, Black American traditions. Exploring the depths of the Black American musical experience is the modus operandi of this show and its core purpose.

Ever since enslaved Africans were first brought to this country, the musical (along with social, visual, spiritual, culinary, linguistic, etc. etc.) traditions that we brought from the motherland have reverberated out beyond the confines of our community, intermingling with cultures everywhere. In that way, Black American music culture exists in a constant, simultaneous dialogue with the rest of the world. We send out information and innovation, we receive it back, transmute this information and make another new thing.

The story of how Black American jazz and soul music influenced Jamaica which would eventually give us reggae, which would in turn go on to shape hip-hop with both genres going on to radically reform Britain’s music culture, is a prime example of this fruitful musical exchange. It can be argued that no single musical act has embodied this exchange better or more thoroughly than Bristol-born pioneers Massive Attack. This month marks the 30th Anniversary of their debut Blue Lines, an album that delivered a volatile yet entirely logical mix ofBritish reggae / soundsystem, hip-hop, and soul to audiences everywhere. In the 30 years since Blue Lines was released, the fusion of these genres has become more natural and certainly more common. In a way, the album is both the result of a long and rich tradition as well as the focal point for the start of a new one. This month, I spoke at length about the album twice on WXPN: on World Cafe with Raina Douris (listen here), as well as on What’s The Frequency with The Key’s Matthew Shaver and John Vettese (listen below).

WTFXPN Tribute to Blue Lines by Massive Attack

Primarily concentrated in London, post-Blue Lines Britain is currently enjoying a wonderful movement of hip-hop-influenced jazz, led by musicians like Alfa Mist, saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings (Sons of Kemet, Shabaka & The Ancestors, etc.), trumpeter Emma-Jean Thackray and more. Stateside, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge’s Jazz Is Dead series continues jazz’s grand old traditions of mentorship and intergenerational collaboration by pairing young musicians with elder statesmen like Gary Bartz, Doug Carn, and Roy Ayers. Much of the music played on this month’s Culture Cypher Radio was selected for its relationship to this idea of tradition. Whether it’s Hugh Masekela covering Dizzy Gillespie or The Beatnuts rapping about sampling old records, tradition is the heart of this month’s show and it is one of the core characteristics of our music and culture.

Below, check out this month’s Culture Cypher Radio chart and playlist, and listen to the April episode in its entirety.

Culture Cypher Radio – 2021.04.23

1. Massive Attack – “Be Thankful For What You’ve Got” (Virgin)

2. Gary Bartz, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Adrian Younge – “Spritual Ideation” (Jazz is Dead)

3. The Beatnuts feat. V.I.C –  “World’s Famous” (Relativity)

4. Hugh Masekela – “Night In Tunisia” (Blue Thumb)

5. Alfa Mist – “Run Outs” (Alfa Mist) 

6. Emma-Jean Thackray – “Movementt” (Movementt)

7. Madlib – “Duumbajay” (Madlib Invasion)

8. Chimurenga Renaissance & King Britt – “Zimbabwe feat. Nadine Stoddart” (Buddy System)

9. Five Deez – “B.E.A.T.” (Counterflow)

10. Public Enemy – “Rebel Without a Pause” (Def Jam)

Andres – “Soul Brother Never Be Another”
Massive Attack – Daydreaming”
Massive Attack – “Unfinished Sympathy”
Breeze Brewin – “The Application”
Hugh Masekela – Night In Tunisia”
Gary Bartz, Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad – “Distant Mode”
Gary Bartz, Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad – Spiritual Ideation”
Cazal Organism – “Synthony”
The Beatnuts – “Worlds Famous”
Anti-pop Consortium ” Eye Wall”
Dec 4 – “Growth May Leave Me Dead”
Five Deez – “Decapitated Orgasm”
Five Deez – “B.E.A.T.”
DJ Wally – “Hungry In the Abstract”
Figmore – “Rosie”
Figmore – “Wormhole Teatime”
Ebo Taylor – “African Woman”
Ghetto Blaster – “Na Wya”
Amani – “The Cravings”
DJ Harrison – “Pen Eyes 1 (Starry Night)”
DJ Harrison – “Pen Eyes 8 (Vixens Lullaby)”
Black Koala – “Ride”
DJ Muggs feat. Hus Kingpin – “Wally Face”
KA – “Fate”
Roc Marciano feat. Black Thought – “Diamond Cutters”
Alfa Mist – “Run Outs”
Emma-Jean Thackray – “Movementt”
Yusef Kamaal – “Strings Of Light”
Sons Of Kemet – “My Queen Is Harriet Tubman”
Public Enemy – “Rebel Without A Pause”
Jaylib – “Turn It Up”
Izy – “Moon”
Gabe Nandez – “Ox”
Madlib – “Duumbajay”
The Free Design – “Where Do I go (Madlib Remix)”
Uncle Crimson – “Greed”
Lava La Rue – “G.O.Y.D.”
Chimurenga Rennaissance & King Britt featuring Nadine Stoddart – “Zimbabwe”
Pat Van Dyke feat. Animal Ventura and John Robinson – “We Are One”
Massive Attack – “Any Love”
Massive Attack – “Blue Lines”
Massive Attack – “Be Thankful For What You’ve Got”
Massive Attack – “Hymn Of The Big Wheel”
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