Lenny Kravitz Incorporates Hip-Hop, Collaborates with Jay-Z and Drake on Upcoming Album
Ordinarily, hip-hop isn’t associated with Lenny Kravitz, but the rocker, not straying too far from his sound, has been working with Jay-Z, Drake, Swizz Beatz, and a handful of other artists for his upcoming album. His latest since 2008, Kravitz’s album, titled Black and White America, originally started as a funk-oriented project, and his ideas for hip-hop and R&B influences grew from there. In an interview with Billboard, Kravitz mentioned: "As I was finishing that other (album), I started writing these other songs. They were coming out of the blue, and they had nothing to do with what I was doing. At first I figured, 'Well, I'll put these aside for now and deal with these later,' and they kept coming -- one, two, three, four of them. And I was dreaming a lot of the music. It was just coming to me and it was really fluid, so at that point I had to say, 'Well, OK, I guess this is where I'm going,' and I went on to make 'Black and White America.' "
But, don’t think of Kravitz’s latest release as a hip-hop record or a bizarre rock-rap hybrid, à la nu-metal. In the same Billboard interview, Kravitz confirmed that Black and White isn’t a departure from his sound or style: "As a person I am all over the place. I'm completely schizophrenic. I've tried to make a record that sort of has one sound throughout, and I just can't do it. When I go left, I want to go right; when I go up, I want to go down. I have so many musical styles inside of me. Growing up, I listened to every kind of music and it's in me and it's just the way I am, so the albums always come out like that, all over the place."
Black and White America is due in stores August 30 and is Kravitz’s first release on Roadrunner/Atlantic Records. In addition to Jay-Z, Swizz Beatz, and Drake, Trombone Shorty and DJ Military will appear on the album.
Kravitz recently opened for U2 and will do his own European tour for Black and White in October. At the same time, the rocker has a burgeoning film career and has a role as Cinna in the Hunger Games adaptation. Previously, Kravitz had a role in Precious. About his venture into film, he told Rolling Stone: "I'm not just trying to push my career forward to push it forward. I want to do the right things. ‘Precious’ was a great way to start, really low-key, and now this. We'll see where it goes from here."
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