RJD2 is back on his solo grind this year as the veteran artist is set to release his new album, Dame Fortune, on March 25. Similar to his 2013 release, More Is Than Isn't, this upcoming project features several guests locking into RJD2's world, and it's an audible odyssey fans soon won't forget. Today, COMPLEX premieres "Peace of What," the first record off the anticipated project. It finds RJD2 in rare form, delivering a funky and upbeat backdrop that pairs well with Jordan Brown's smooth vocals.
Check out RJD2's "Peace of What" below, along with our Q&A and his upcoming tour dates. You can pre-order Dame Fortune on iTunes here.
Your last solo effort, More Is Than Isn’t, had a great story behind its title. What’s the inspiration behind naming your upcoming album, Dame Fortune?
I've been in the habit of jotting down phrases, ideas, random thoughts, etc., in my phone whenever they show themselves. Dame Fortune was a phrase that ended up in that list (it may have been culled from a book I was reading at the time?); it just felt right for the album title.
It is, obviously, personifying an idea—fortune—that I'd say is a construct of the mind. The idea that being fortunate has as much to do with circumstance as it does perspective interested me; then personifying it to be seen as a woman bestowing this idea of fortune added to my own sense of intrigue about the phrase. There was a simple elegance to the phrase, and idea. Often times a title just feels "right," and I don't always fully understand why.
You’re leading off the project with “Peace of What,” an upbeat and soulful record that could musically be described as a high on Dame Fortune. Tell me about this collaboration with Jordan Brown.
Well I need to give credit where credit is due: my homie Slim aka STS discovered Jordan. He sang most of the hooks/lead lines on our album together. I wrote and cut the song, and I just could not execute it the way I heard it in my head. Jordan nailed it. He's a young kid who, I really believe, with the right direction and fostering could do some big things. It's rare that you come across a raw talent that is flying so far under the radar. Maybe that'll change.
Phonte makes an appearance on the album, which continues the streak of collaborations to three. It sounds like you guys have really found a groove together. What was the experience like this time working with him?
Absolutely. I feel like we've hit a nice stride. I mean, as soon as he started singing entire songs in a melodic fashion, I told him, "you've GOTTA keep doing this!" I feel like we've both grown and branched out creatively over the last 10 to 15 years and we have a lot of middle ground to collaborate in, so to speak. This time was as easy as the last. I sent him some joints, he picked one, wrote to it, sent a whole song back, and that was that. I really try hard to make a point to keep both the creative and business stuff above board whenever I'm collaborating, so I'd like to think that keeping some of the long term collaborators like Phonte in my circle is the fruit of that effort.
Aside from your own work, what are you looking forward to musically in 2016? Are there any specific artists you’re excited to see make moves?
I'm excited to see where what you could call modern jazz going. Kamasi Washington, Zack Brock, Robert Glasper, etc. I feel like jazz is in an interesting place right now. When records like To Pimp a Butterfly pop up in the mainstream, and at their core have some progressive harmonic ideas embedded in them, that's a cool thing to see.
RJD2 Tour Dates
Jan. 12: Brooklyn, N.Y. - Brooklyn Bowl
Jan. 13: Brooklyn, N.Y. - Brooklyn Bowl
Jan. 30: Denver, Colo. - Ogden Theatre
Feb. 20: Austin, Tex. - Empire Garage
Feb. 27: Pittsburgh - Mr. Smalls Theatre
March 11: Lancaster, Pa. - Chameleon Club
April 8: Los Angeles - Teragram Ballroom
April 9: San Francisco - The Independent
April 29: Chicago - Metro
May 28: Philadelphia - Union Transfer
May 29: Washington, D.C. - 9:30 Club