After the unqualified critical, chart, sales, and Grammy successes of the Robert Glasper Experiment's two Black Radio albums, remixes, and singles, the need to explore was requisite. ArtScience is a reflection of the qualities and musical interests that brought this band together. Their seamless meld of contemporary jazz, hip-hop, neo-soul, pop, and rock has influenced a host of artists following in their wake. This album marks a new modus operandi: it's the first time the band has written and produced collectively. (Even the two covers here were arranged by the unit.) It's also a first in that there are no guest vocal cameos. The set was recorded in New Orleans over two weeks apart from the endless touring and hustling solo careers of its members.
Robert Glasper's love for the music of his upbringing is deep. The sounds of hip hop, R&B, and urban soul music are intrinsically linked to a brilliant young jazz pianist who has gigged with jazz icons, headlined his own bands, and released a number of noteworthy recordings, including 2007's In My Element (Bluenote) and 2009's Double Booked (EMI). His music has borne the fruits of this passion; he's as comfortable with "J Dilla" as he is with John Coltrane. Some have questioned whether Glasper is abandoning his jazz roots and selling out to popular music.