Hailed as the only artist nominated in one Grammy year for both Best Rock Song (“Ain’t Messin ‘Round”) and Best Traditional R&B Song (“Please Come Home”), Gary Clark Jr. now bends genres even further. Next month, there’s Blak and Blue: The Mixtape, a hip-hop-structured comp of unreleased tracks and remakes of his major label debut.
The collection’s not yet complete, but Warner Bros., Clark’s label, maintains that’ll happen over the next couple weeks. The local guitar hero’s already culled contributions from singers Erykah Badu, Bilal, and Jill Scott, rapper Talib Kweli, and Houston jazz-hop impresario Robert Glasper.
If the Big K.R.I.T.-assisted remake of Blak and Blu’s title track streaming here is any indication, The Mixtape will offer a deep descent into Clark’s expansive interests. The Austinite’s national bow came out October 2012 as something of a hodgepodge drawing blood from the legends of Jimi Hendrix, Al Green, and Little Johnny Taylor, and matched elements of deep blues alongside contemporary hip-hop in ways few albums had prior.
Such experimentation drew ire from Clark traditionalists in search of Delta blues, but that adventurousness proved provocative for a much wider audience. A couple years removed from playing for $3 covers at Lamberts, Clark had taken full command of his root passions.
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