Next month jazz pianist and prominent To Pimp A Butterfly collaborator Robert Glasper will mark what would have been Miles Davis' 90th birthday with the release of Everything's Beautiful, an 11-track album that is inspired by themes within and comprised of samples from late-legend's catalog.
Today, Glasper has shared a visual for one of those tracks, "Ghetto Walkin'", a contemporized take on Davis's late-late '60s production "The Ghetto Walk" that features Bilal. The animated video casts the faces scrawled on the album's cover in a story of overcoming that is staged on dark and danger-riddled city streets. As Bilal laments, When I was young nobody told me don't fall for traps, good will hunting/ Now I'm old in this game, and I'm set in my ways.
"We really wanted to tell a visual story about a hero's journey through the 'ghetto' and into salvation," explained John Vondracek, one-half of the animation duo String Theory, in the email to The FADER. "We contrasted the darks of the imagery and environments with the glow and buzz of street lamps, police sirens, windows, and onlookers to populate the world, and set up 'road blocks' or obstacles (drugs, guns, dead end alleys, etc.) to showcase the challenges the hero has to overcome."
"It fit like a glove to tell the story of a young black man in 2016," Glasper added. "Miles is always relevant, that's his genius." And so Bilal sings, When I was young people told me don't fall for traps, good will hunting/ Now I'm old in this game, and I'm set in my ways.
Robert Glasper's Everything's Beautiful features additional cameos from the likes of Erykah Badu, Stevie Wonder, Illa J, Phonte, and Georgia Anne Muldrow, and is out on May 27.