A Tribe Called Quest‘s Ali Shaheed Muhammad and composer Adrian Younge unveiled their new project, the Midnight Hour, with a soulful new song, “Questions,” featuring Cee Lo Green. The track will appear on the Midnight Hour’s self-titled debut album, out June 8th via Younge’s Linear Labs label.
“Questions” mixes an array of styles from hip-hop to bossa nova, with a jazzy drum groove anchoring an array of orchestral flourishes including organ, flute, vibraphone and strings. Cee Lo’s falsetto glides over the production as he sings, “I’m supernatural, I am strange/ Into whom, or to what should I change?”
“It is a joy to create The Midnight Hour with our friends who were willing to take the musical journey with us to make something special that is a departure from the status quo,” the duo tell Rolling Stone. “The Midnight Hour represents the black idiom in regards to jazz, hip hop and cinematic soul for a new generation.”
“Questions” arrives in full two years after it first appeared as a sample on Kendrick Lamar’s “untitled 06 | 06.30.2014.” off his 2016 LP, untitled unmastered. Muhammad and Younge began crafting the song even earlier than that, cutting the demo in 2013 when they first conceived The Midnight Hour.
In an interview with Pitchfork about how the song ended up on untitled unmastered, Younge recalled the initial recording session, saying, “It’s all live but everything on that, all the instrumentation, is recorded to analog so it has a vintage patina to it. It has a certain kind of flavor to it.”
Muhammad and Younge first worked together on Souls of Mischief’s 2014 album, There Is Only Now. More recently, the pair collaborated on the score for Marvel’s Luke Cage series on Netflix.