Madlib: Tomorrow’s New Big Band
Hip-hop virtuoso and sampling wizard Madlib discusses his favorite jazz instrumentalists, putting together his dream big band line-up.
A celebrated beatmaker whose reach extends well beyond the world of hip-hop, Madlib is a reclusive figure who tends to let his music do the talking. Growing up in Oxnard, California as part of a musical family, he adopted the name Madlib in 1990 while working with Lootpack, a trio that would later be signed to Stones Throw. Of all Madlib’s musical connections—and there are many—this link with Stones Throw would ultimately prove to be one of the most important, as the Los Angeles label has been responsible for releasing the bulk of Madlib’s extensive catalog. This includes his solo work under the name Quasimodo, high-profile collaborative projects like Jaylib (with J Dilla) and Madvillain (with MF Doom), groundbreaking beat tapes as the Beat Konducta and jazz experiments as Yesterdays New Quintet and Yesterdays Universe, not to mention dozens of pseudonyms and countless forays into assorted strains of jazz, funk, soul, electronic music and more. In 2010, Madlib did start his own imprint, Madlib Invazion, as an outlet for his ambitious and expansive Medicine Show series, yet he’s also continued to work with Stones Throw from time to time. He’s also continued to collaborate with other artists, including Freddie Gibbs and Kanye West.