The Midnight Hour (2018) is Black excellence: an ode to the cultural sophistication that the Harlem Renaissance established for its people. The Midnight Hour is comprised of Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge, alongside a tight rhythm section and a full orchestra. The album has features from Cee-Lo Green, Raphael Saadiq, Marsha Ambrosius, Bilal, Eryn Allen Kane, Karolina, and more.
Adrian and Ali began working on this album back in 2013, but put the project aside as they would score the hit Netflix series Marvel’s Luke Cage (the two even perform in a second season episode). The Midnight Hour is a soul/jazz/hip hop album which continues the conversations started by yesterday’s jazz and funk pioneers; those that created the bedrock of samples for hip hop producers in the '80s/'90s. The Midnight Hour is sophisticated hip hop that fans will enjoy, capturing their jazz rhythm section, and a full orchestra, to analog tape.
One of the seminal compositions, “Questions,” originally began as an unfinished Midnight Hour demo with CeeLo Green. However, Kendrick Lamar heard the track and wanted to sample portions for his GRAMMY-winning album To Pimp a Butterfly (the song ultimately made it to Kendrick’s 2016 compilation Untitled Unmastered as “Untitled 06 | 06.30.2014.”). The full completed version of “Questions” is now the lead single on The Midnight Hour.
“So Amazing” is a reimagining of Luther Vandross‘ 1986 single. Ali and Adrian took Luther’s original vocal stems and composed new music, as if they were in the room with Luther originally. This transcendental recording is something that really makes The Midnight Hour special.