GRAMMY-award winning producers Blue Lab Beats announce their UK and European tour for September and October 2022, hot on the heels of the release of their acclaimed third studio album, Motherland Journey. The renowned duo recently won a GRAMMY for their production on Angelique Kidjo’s track ‘Fired Up’ on her Mother Nature LP, which won Best Global Music Album, and also performed a sold out show at the Elgar Room in The Royal Albert Hall.
One of the fastest-rising production duos in the world right now, expertly and fluidly fusing jazz, hip-hop, Afrobeat, soul and electronica, whilst representing a hungry and endlessly talented generation inspired by the forebearers of jazz and the pioneers of hip-hop’s golden age, where musicality was a primary principle, Blue Lab Beats consists of groundbreaking producer NK-OK and the formidable multi-instrumentalist Mr DM. Starting out as bedroom producers, remixing tracks from A-listers such as Dua Lipa and Rag’N’Bone Man, the pair quickly grew into something far more potent – crafting a supple, wide-ranging sound inspired by the pioneers of hip-hop and the music of the African diaspora while staying true to their London roots.
Their latest album Motherland Journey has quite literally been years in the making. The result of tireless days in the studio, the body of work is a celebration of pushing boundaries, taking risks and overcoming adversity. It’s Blue Lab Beats’ largest project to date, and delivered via the legendary Blue Note imprint truly reiterates its importance. The LP welcomes a host of outstanding musicians and collaboators, featuring the vocals from none other than the late Fela Kuti, with the estate of the Afrobeat pioneer giving BLB their blessing to release the song. The majestic ‘Labels’ combines Kofi Stone’s slick bars and Tiana Major9’s head-turning vocals with the smoothest of production. Further singles come in the form of ‘Blow You Away (Delilah)’ and ‘Sensual Loving’, both featuring the unmistakable vocals of Afrobeats prince Ghetto Boy, and keys coming courtesy of renowned Stones Throw affiliate and Drake collaborator Kiefer on ‘Dat It’. Urban Soul Orchestra feature on ‘Reflections’, Ego Ella May on ‘Slow Down’, Jackson Mathod and Kaidi Akinnibi providing horns on ‘Warp’, ‘Home’ is punctuated by Pip Millet’s soulful vocals, whilst UK Soul talent Jerome Thomas features on ‘Real Good’, a track that came together in just four hours.
With over 40 million streams, now with a GRAMMY Award and a MOBO nomination under their belt, as well as productions and remix credits with Angelique Kidjo, Rag N Bone Man, Dua Lipa, Kojey Radical (having produced ‘Silk’ on his latest album), Jaz Karis, Joe Hertz, FloFilz, Sampa The Great, Amp Fiddler, and having played Glastonbury and supported the likes of Roy Ayers and Thundercat, Blue Lab Beats are just getting started. Their 2018 debut album ‘XOver’ is brimming with hits, and boasts 10 million streams on the acclaimed track ‘Pineapple’. Features like stand out track ‘Sam Cooke & Marvin Gaye’ with Kojey Radical and Tiana Major9 on 2017’s EP Freedom, as well as GRAMMY-nominated trumpeter Theo Croker on 2019’s EP Vibe Central, and statement track ‘Hi There’, a soulful instrumental sermon on Blue Lab’s 2020 album Voyage have brought them further, well-deserved success.
2022 has already been staggeringly career-defining for the groundbreaking London-based duo – with selling out the Royal Albert Hall’s Elgar Room, performing with 12 string players, a full band and guest vocalists, being a real standout.
Also this summer they supported Rober Glasper at Jazz A Vienne, played Montreux Jazz Festival and Montreal Jazz Festival in a 3 day sprint around the globe!
A standing show.
Few acts encapsulate the breadth of what’s been happening in London’s jazz and neo-soul worlds as well as Blue Lab Beats.8/10 Loud & Quiet