Renowned electronic artist and talented vocalist, James Blake, has been named as one of the artists featured on Frank Ocean’s new album. This is the latest of the big name artists for Blake to collaborate with. Perhaps most notable of this years collaborations is his work on Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’, where he featured on the tracks ‘Forward’ and ‘Pray You Catch Me’.
Blake has also released his own album this year, ‘Radio Silence’, featuring music from close friend and collaborator Justin Vernon, as part of his band, ‘Bon Iver’ and a remix by Blake’s own project 1-800 Dinosaur also featuring on the album.
To have accomplished so much in 2016 when the year is barely half over is not something many people can say. Alongside the release of Blake’s third album, 1-800 Dinosaur have recently brought out a record featuring up and coming rap artist ‘Trim’. Blake’s exploration into a multitude of genres and his drive to keep expanding and experimenting is what makes him such a valuable artist. His talent is not limited by genre, making him a great asset to artists such as Frank Ocean And Beyoncé, two artists that are trying to push the boundaries in their own music and develop new concepts can only be made stronger by the unstoppable drive of James Blake. He seems to be the ‘idea man’ every one who knows what they’re talking about is turning to.
In terms of the work of James Blake and defying genre restrictions, Rap, Hip-Hop and R&B could be the perfect tools to develop this concept. Even the underground sound of boiler room grime is on the rise with artists such as Skepta and Stormzy being exceptionally well received globally. The likes of James Blake could be the perfect bridge between the more hardcore sounds of UK grime and the smooth melodies of Frank Ocean.
Blake is not the only artist making strides in the collaboration world either, artists such as Tame Imapala’s Kevin Parker, Grimes, Flying Lotus, Bon Iver, Chance the Rapper and of course Mark Ronson are all switching up the genre scene. The artists that are proving to be the most musically interesting and exciting are those that are stepping outside the confines of genre.
Following this collaboration with Frank Ocean, it’s almost certain we will see James Blake rise to even further heights in the world or music. The era of David Guetta produced, four-chord pop is coming to an end and the intellectual experimentation as seen in the likes of James Blake is becoming the new musical trend.
Hip-Hop’s accessibility and varying range could prove it to be the perfect tool to escape static ideas of genre and to make the concept of ‘good taste in music’ all the more confusing.