Robert Glasper Talks with Emily King on the Talkhouse Podcast

“This is when having white friends went wrong. Remember mousse?”

On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got a pair of performers and songwriters whose work joyfully throws genre out the window in search of something bigger: Robert Glasper and Emily King.

Glasper started his career pretty firmly in the jazz world, though as you’ll hear in this conversation he really started out by playing in churches in his native Texas. But in 2012 he released an album called Black Radio with his electric quartet, the Robert Glasper Experiment, which gleefully knocked down boundaries between jazz and hip-hop, and featured such artists as Erykah Badu and Lupe Fiasco—not to mention an awesome cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” His catalog before and since is too broad and varied to cover in any depth here, but in addition to jazz and R&B records, he’s done a bunch of movie and TV work—including a bit of acting, which you’ll hear about—won a handful of Grammys, and helped curate the Blue Note Jazz Festival, another topic of conversation here. Right now he’s in the middle of “Robtober,” his monthlong residency at New York’s Blue Note Jazz Club, which will feature an incredible lineup of guests throughout.

The other half of this conversation is Glasper’s friend and fellow Blue Note alumni Emily King, herself a Grammy nominee whose music exists at the corner of R&B, soul, and pop. Her third and latest album, Special Occasion, is brash, heartfelt, and energetic, and she’s an incredible presence live. The album, like most of King’s work, was produced by Jeremy Most, who happens to be an old schoolmate of Glasper’s—and with whom King was in a long-term relationship with until just recently. (You can hear a bit of that tension in its songs, in a good way.) King will be opening for Marc Rebelliet later this month at Red Rocks, which is pretty awesome. Check out a little bit of “Special Occasion” right here.

In this lively chat, these two talk about how the New York Times accidentally named Glasper’s band for him, the chances of Glasper becoming a PEGOT—you’ll see—how being a messy person might make you creative, and more. There’s also talk of bad hairstyle choices, and how having white friends might exacerbate that problem. Enjoy.

Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Robert Glasper and Emily King for chatting. If you liked what you hear, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and check out all the goodness at This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!

(Photo Credit: left, Mancy Gant; Edited by: Keenan Kush.)

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