Blue Note Jazz Club Announces February Talib Kweli Shows Featuring Bob James

Special Guests Include Rakim, DMC and Slick Rick

Talib Kweli, Bob James, Slick Rick at Blue Note Jazz Club on Jan 24, 2022

New York’s Blue Note Jazz Club announces an important run of Talib Kweli (one half of iconic duo Black Star) shows alongside heavily-sampled jazz pioneer Bob James. Taking place this February 7-9, the shows promise to be the can’t-miss kick-off to 2023’s 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop celebrations. Living legends Rakim, DMC and Slick Rick, who will receive a Lifetime Achieve Award from The Recording Academy next month, are confirmed as special guests joining this culture-filled run. Slick Rick, Talib Kweli and Bob James performed together for the first time last year at Blue Note. 

Watch footage of Talib Kweli, Bob James and Slick Rick’s 

2022 Blue Note performance here: 

“I’m very happy for this opportunity to join up with my friend Talib Kweli to perform with Slick Rick again on the Blue Note stage,” states Bob James. “We had so much fun last year, and I’m excited to have legendary artists DMC and Rakim join us this time around to revisit the past and make new history together.”

“The re-joining of forces at Blue Note between icon Bob James and Talib Kweli with legends Rakim, Slick Rick and DMC is an exceptional moment,” states Blue Note Director of Programming Alex Kurland. “Bob James’ depth of history and contribution to hip hop and musical culture is remarkable. Our inspiration with these shows is to revisit that history and vibe through the samples originating from Bob James, in collaboration with three of the most prolific, powerhouse and pioneering MCs of all time who have a legendary connection of drawing from Bob’s music.”

18-time Grammy-Nominated artist Bob James forever cemented his place in hip-hop history with the release of his 1974 album One. The groove-heavy closing track “Nautilus,” featuring James on keyboard, Gary King on bass, and Idris Muhammad on drums, is one of the most sampled and interpolated songs of all time, beginning with Ultramagnetic MC’s using the bassline in their 1986 single “Bait.” In 1988, elements of the song found their way into Run DMC’s “Beats To The Rhyme” and Eric B & Rakim’s “Follow The Leader.” Slick Rick then famously used “Nautilus” as the backbone to his groundbreaking single “Children’s Story.” The list of artists who have since sampled or interpolated “Nautilus” is a who’s who of hip-hop history: 9th Wonder, A Tribe Called Quest, Ghostface Killah, Jeru the Damaja, Wu-Tang Clan, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, Big L, El-P, Onyx, Ice T, Wale, The Game, EARTHGANG, Yung Lean, Salt-N-Peppa, and dozens more. 

Bob James’ “Take Me To The Mardi Gras,” from his album Two, is another staple of hip-hop culture. Alongside Run DMC’s “Peter Piper,” James’ single is a building block found in many classics including NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton,” Beastie Boys’ “Hold It Now, Hit It,” LL Cool J’s “Rock the Bells,” Missy Elliott’s “Work It,” Common’s “I Want You,” and Talib Kweli’s P-Money collaboration “Celebration Flow.” Talib also sampled James’ “Love Lips” on his single “Moodswing” alongside Soulution. 

Talib Kweli with Live Band featuring Bob James: Feb 7 – 9

Special guests include:

  • February 7: DMC
  • February 8: Slick Rick
  • February 9: Rakim

About Talib Kweli:

After nearly 20 years of releasing mesmerizing music, Brooklyn-based MC Talib Kweli stands as one of the world’s most talented and most accomplished Hip Hop artists. Whether working with Mos Def as one-half of Black Star, partnering with producer Hi-Tek for Reflection Eternal, releasing landmark solo material or collaborating with Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Just Blaze, J Dilla, or Madlib, Kweli commands attention by delivering top-tier lyricism, crafting captivating stories and showing the ability to rhyme over virtually any type of instrumental. In 2011, Kweli founded Javotti Media, which is self-defined as “a platform for independent thinkers and doers.” Kweli has set out to make Javotti Media (which released his 2011 album, Gutter Rainbows, and is named after his paternal grandmother) into a media powerhouse that releases music, films and books.

About Bob James:

Bob James’ recordings have practically defined pop/jazz and crossover during the past few decades. Very influenced by pop and movie music, James has often featured R&B-ish soloists (most notably Grover Washington, Jr.) who add a jazz touch to what is essentially an instrumental pop set. He actually started out in music going in a much different direction. In 1962, James recorded a bop-ish trio set for Mercury, and three years later his album for ESP was quite avant-garde, with electronic tapes used for effects. After a period with Sarah Vaughan (1965-1968), he became a studio musician, and by 1973 was arranging and working as a producer for CTI. In 1974, James recorded his first purely commercial effort as a leader; he later made big-selling albums for his own Tappan Zee label, Columbia, and Warner Bros., including collaborations with Earl Klugh and David Sanborn. James remains relatively busy in the studio and since 2000 has released several albums including Dancing on the Water in 2001, That Steamin’ Feelin’ in 2002, Hi-Fi in 2003, and Urban Flamingo in 2006, among others. 

About Blue Note:

With jazz at its vibrant core, Blue Note New York has maintained its historical excellence while providing its audiences with a range of dynamic, culturally rich experiences and top artistry. At its storied Greenwich Village location, the club has hosted legends including Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Sarah Vaughn, Lionel Hampton, and Ray Charles, along with contemporary jazz masters Dave Brubeck, Wynton Marsalis, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, and Chris Botti. Blue Note offers an unforgettable night out, with shows by outstanding jazz, soul, hip-hop, R&B, and funk players, trailblazers, and influencers—recently featuring George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Jacob Collier, Robert Glasper, Arturo Sandoval, Miguel, Lalah Hathaway, Macy Gray, DJ Logic, yasiin bey, and Galactic, among many others. Blue Note shows, recognized for their artistic integrity and “place-to-be” reputation, draw A-list fans and surprise stage appearances by artists like comics Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock, and musical icons Steve Wonder, Tony Bennett, Quincy Jones, and Liza Minelli. The club delights in its celebrity-studded audiences, recently sighting Scarlett Johansson, Colin Jost, Jennifer Hudson, Lena Waithe, Gary Dourdan, Mario Cantone, and the cast of “Black Panther.” Blue Note’s director of programming Alex Kurland tells Billboard: “unbelievable artistic and culturally iconic moments…. unique happenings and experiences within our intimate jazz club setting with the greatest artists and bands bobbing and weaving in and out of Blue Note, and on and off stage.” Anything can happen at Blue Note – a legendary club that continues to honor its deep jazz legacy while showcasing exhilarating contemporary music across the stylistic and cultural spectrum.