Robert Glasper just successfully curated his second annual Blue Note Jazz Festival, taking place over a course of three days in Napa, California. Described as “a euphoric celebration of music, culture, and camaraderie,” the highly-anticipated event was founded on Glasper’s love and passion for jazz music — which plays a huge role into what Hip-Hop has become today.


Speaking on curating such a big festival, Glasper states, “All in all, we try to have artists there that I feel are speaking honestly and have something real to say. I’m not into trendy things. I’m not into the artists that are just trendy. They’re another one of this. In three years, 10 years, you’re not going to see them. I like artists that are true to the core actual artists, in any genre of music. Doesn’t matter how old you are. You can be 50 years old and be a trend chaser, so it doesn’t matter the age.”


This year, the all-star lineup featured all the elites in the rap game, including Nas, Mary J. Blige, Chance The Rapper, De La Soul, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Rakim, Talib Kweli, Anderson .Paak, PJ Morton, and many more. And with Glasper’s 15 plus year-long friendship with Dave Chapelle, it was only right for the comedian to come out and host once again. If that’s not enough, Glasper even recruited NBA player Dwyane Wade to be the festival’s Director of Culture and Vibes, who used his wine expertise to help elevate the guest’s experience — especially given Napa’s nickname as the Wine Country. 


Sheen spoke with Robert Glasper via Zoom to discuss his love for jazz, Snoop Dogg, taking edibles, connecting Sir with Alex Isley, producing with his son, and more!


When you were growing up learning jazz, did you ever think you’d be here today?

Not to this extent, because that’s not what jazz musicians do. [laughs] Where I am, I started off on the jazz path, but then I went my own path. Created a niche area that I live in, that no other cats really live in. I didn’t see this coming, because this didn’t really exist like this. But I definitely had the dream of being a jazz musician that people know. I wanted it to be the best, the best jazz musician.


It went from me wanting to be the best jazz musician to me just wanting to have a voice and say something that was worth hearing from other people. That maybe I can inspire… As you get older, it stops being about being the best. Being the fastest, the technical part of it. lt’s more about how do you impact people? How can what you do impact someone else?


I saw you say how you were most excited about Snoop Dogg and hoped you could breathe through the weed smoke. How was his set?

[laughs] Snoop was the first year. His set was amazing. It was great. It was incredible. It’s amazing. I felt so honored to be on stage with Snoop, and play the songs I’ve heard my whole life. You’ve heard the songs your whole life, and now I’m on stage playing these songs with him. That’s a different feeling. Snoop is so much a real part of the culture of Hip-Hop in a real way. Not just songs, but in general. Him as being him.


Do you smoke by the way?

No, I don’t smoke. I do edibles.


There was a tweet from 2013 where you said “just took this weed cookie, let’s see where this takes me.”

[laughs] That sounds about right.


How did that go?

I can’t remember, but that sounds about right. Every time I have a weed candy or anything, I forget I had it. [laughs] Most of my friends smoke. They actually smoke, but I’ve never been a person that can smoke. The smoke, I just can’t. I can be around it, I’m fine. I can’t inhale, it makes me choke. I can’t do it, but every now and then, I’m fine with having a gummy. That’s fine. 


How often do you take gummies?

Not super often. When me and my lady are taking a little vacation, we take gummies with us. We have a three-year-old, so it’s hard. Living in a house with a three-year-old, it’s hard to do with a gummy. Honestly, I started doing them on a more regular basis during COVID. But honestly, we’ll probably do something twice a month. It’s not crazy.


Weed enhances the music for me, I don’t know if it does the same for you.

It enhances it when I’m listening, it can for sure. Mushrooms, weed, definitely can enhance it. That’s what I was taking when I was in Napa. It definitely enhances everything. [laughs]


You were taking edibles for the residency or the festival? 

For the festival, absolutely.



Talk about connecting Sir with Alex Isley on “Back To Love.” 

Sir is somebody I’ve always loved from afar, and I never got a chance to work with him. I have an album called Fuck Yo Feelings, he came to the studio. He wrote a few songs for me for that project for other artists. There’s a song he’s on as well, that he wrote with Bridget Kelly. Sir’s super dope man, he’s one of those cats. I love his music. I love his vibe. 


I feel the same way about Alex Isley. She’s the voice of a generation. When you’re backtracking, her dad is also such a huge contributor to another generation. My dad’s generation. Ernie Isley, he wrote so much of the Isley Brothers’ stuff. The stuff that really was a part of a culture for real. Real songs like “Voyage to Atlantis” and “Footsteps in the Dark,” all these songs. She comes from that. She’s a great writer, and a voice. When you hear it, you know it’s Alex. Having them together was amazing. It was easy.


What does it mean to produce a song alongside your son?

That was amazing. That was the cherry on top, because my son started really making beats a little bit before the pandemic. He’s always played drums, but he started getting really serious about making beats over the pandemic. My son’s a super smart cat. Once he dives into something, he really studies and really gets into it. He found his passion, that’s his passion. Hands down, making beats is his passion. Every day, he gets better at it. He works at it every day. I told him, yo I got this joint. But we always do beats together. Whenever we’re together, we make 10 beats a day. 


That must be so fulfilling to watch your mini me do what you do. 

Absolutely. To go back, I wasn’t doing stuff like that when I was his age. I’m excited about the things he’s going to do in the future. But I’m going to try to do as many things as I can with him, as long as he thinks I’m cool to work with. [laughs]


Photo Credits: Courtesy of Robert Glasper