I had come across Karriem Riggins a few years ago while I was the cohost of a radio show featuring music that blended hip hop and jazz music (shout out to DJ Salinger). You’ve probably heard his music without even realizing it, as his previous work includes producing for Kanye West, Common, Kaytranada, and The Roots. I listened through Riggins’ first release Alone Together and remembered why I gave Riggins’ tunes as much airtime as other jazz/hip hop producers.
Riggins is deeply inspired by J Dilla and Alone Together felt to me like Riggins’ tribute to Donuts; Alone Together is an album produced as a DJ, with short, eccentric beat explorations. It’s awesome stuff, entertaining and thought-provoking, but not the style of music I wanted to highlight on the radio; the tracks never hung around long enough to bring in the big hook, which is where my head really starts banging and is my favorite part of beat-music.
I bring all this up not to rag on Alone Together, but to contrast it with what I heard from Headnod Suite. What I heard was fuller and more melodic than Alone Together; each track hooked me right away, grew on itself and had me bopping. We were given a preview of “4Es’J” and “Bahia Dreamin’”, both of which left me hungry for the rest of the music. They build slowly and gain more jazz (Bahia Dreamin’) or more funk (4Es’J). The track “Oddness” feels like a classic DJ experiment, hinting at some interesting interludes between what I hope will be longer, hook tracks like “Bahia Dreamin’” and “4Es’J”.
From what I heard, Headnod Suite sounds awesome, and everyone from Dilla cultists to Bill Evans fans should find something to jam to.
Headnod Suite is Karriem Riggins’ 2nd album released on Stones Throw, check out “Bahia Dreamin'” below: