Pick Six is a half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view.
Jon Jon Scott of the Electric Fetus and Sound Vérité Records:
1 Madlib, "Sound Ancestors." One of the game's greatest producers collaborates with Four Tet for a globe-spanning opus that travels through Africa, Brazil and Europe, expanding and connecting beat culture and the art of sampling. Think of it as a companion to DJ Shadow's "Endtroducing."
2 Sault, "Untitled (Black Is)." A UK collective who have released three records within the past year and a half, they incorporate everything you love about Massive Attack, ESG and Soul II Soul, providing a soundtrack to Black Lives Matter.
3 "Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation," edited by Liz Munsell and Greg Tate. This book spotlights the acclaimed artist's relationship with the hip-hop generation, including its DJs (Fab 5 Freddy), graffiti artists (Futura, Rammellzee), and how they affected his art.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune critic:
1 National Museum of African American Music opens in Nashville. A sneak peek video suggests that this much-needed institution will provide history, context and sounds, delving into religious music, blues, jazz, R&B and hip-hop and how various forms of Black music have affected American culture, from fashion to slang. Can't wait to visit when all is safe and healthy.
2 Jon Batiste, "I Need You." On this terrific, high-energy single, Stephen Colbert's piano-playing bandleader serves up a delectably soulful helping of New Orleans funk 'n' roll with a timely upbeat message.
3 Country music industry holds Morgan Wallen accountable for using the N word. Even though he's had the No. 1 album in America in any genre for the past four weeks, Nashville's hottest star is paying the price for being caught on video last weekend saying the wrong word. Two major radio chains and CMT have removed his songs from their playlists, and his record label has suspended him. There's a difference between free speech and responsible speech.