White recently spoke to Rolling Stone about the track for our April issue. “I just heard that Cab Calloway song on the radio in the kitchen one day and I thought, ‘I love that song, and it’s just so powerful.’ I said, “You know what would be great? It’d be great to sample that scatting that Cab Calloway does on there and have that scatting go along with a drumbeat,’” White said.
“So I sampled it and then just played a drumbeat that seemed to go along with it and then I grabbed a bass and I wrote a bassline for that drum beat and on and on it went. And then pretty soon I thought, ‘Man, this is so interesting. I wonder if Q-Tip would find something interesting about this?’”
While the partnership might seem unlikely, the White Stripes rocker and A Tribe Called Quest rapper had collaborated before, with Q-Tip joining White onstage to perform Tribe’s “Excursions” at a Madison Square Garden concert in 2015.
“Five minutes later, [Q-Tip] sent me back his own scatting on top of it. I love synthesizing different moments, different areas of music, different time periods,” White continued. “The best part about it all is everybody I played to kept thinking that Cab Calloway was me. And I thought, ‘No, it’s obviously not me. Do I actually sound like that?’ So that was bizarre.”
Fear of the Dawn is the first of two albums that White will release in the coming months; Entering Heaven Alive will arrive two months later on July 22. White will release a Third Man-pressed seven-inch single of “Hi-De-Ho” on April 9 at the second of his sold-out album release shows at Detroit’s Masonic Temple. He’ll then embark on his Supply Chain Issues Tour in support of the LPs.