Philadelphia producer RJD2 is impossible to pin down. Over the past two decades, the crate-digging sonic chameleon has explored hip-hop, psychedelia and singer-songwriter styles, blending obscure samples with live instrumentation. Now he's delving deeper into soul music on his latest LP, Dame Fortune, out March 25th via RJ's Electrical Connections.
The album maintains RJD2's hip-hop-leaning production style and experimental streak, but was also inspired by the soul music of his hometown. "Living in Philly provided a context for a lot of soul music that I had liked," he said in a statement. "I didn't have any cultural context for this music that I liked – it was just music that I had stumbled across as a beat-making nerd. Philly was a place where there were enough people who had the same musical vocabulary that I did, which made the music more than something I had just discovered on my own."
Dame Fortune features guest vocals from Son Little (Aaron Livingston) and frequent collaborator Phonte. The 12-track LP includes an orchestral composition – "PF, Day One," which stands for "Post-Ferguson" – inspired by modern social unrest.
RJD2 has released the LP's thought-provoking lead single, "Peace of What," inspired by rap group Main Source's 1991 track "Peace Is Not the Word to Play" (via Complex). Over lush strings and stomping piano, guest Jordan Brown sings of a "land of duck and cover," asking, "Does freedom comfort you at night / While you read the news by candlelight?"
"When I hear people talk of peace in America, the discrepancy between our words and our actions can get fatiguing," the producer said of the song's inspiration. "I was trying to reflect the experience of people I know, which often feels like 'We're not ACTUALLY trying to do anything about this problem in our country.'"
RJD2 has announced 11 new tour dates in support of Dame Fortune, opening January 12th in Brooklyn and ending May 29th in Washington, D.C. The producer been prolific lately: His last release, STS x RJD2, a collaboration with rapper STS, came out last May.
RJD2 - Dame Fortune Track List
1. "A Portal Inward"
2. "The Roaming Hoard"
3. "Peace of What" (feat. Jordan Brown)
4. "The Sheboygan Left"
5. "A New Theory"
6. "We Come Alive" (feat. Son Little)
7. "PF, Day One"
8. "Saboteur" (feat. Phonte Coleman)
9. "Your Nostalgic Heart and Lung"
10. "Up In The Clouds" (feat. Blueprint)
11. "Band of Matron Saints" (feat. Josh Krajcik)
12. "Portals Outward"
RJD2 Tour Dates
January 12 - Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Bowl
January 13 - Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Bowl
January 30 - Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
February 20 - Austin, TX @ Empire Garage
February 27 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre
March 11 – Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon Club
April 8 - Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
April 9 - San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
April 29 – Chicago, IL @ Metro
May 28 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
May 29 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club