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“Searching for a satellite signal.” That’s how Erykah Badu describes her writing process as she was penning lyrics for “Gumbo,” the tune written by Mark Ronson, Meters’ drummer extraordinaire Ziggy Modeliste and others for “Re:Generation.”
The film, which opens Feb. 16 in a limited run, takes five top DJ/producers—Ronson, DJ Premier, newly-minted Grammy winner Skrillex, Pretty Lights and The Crystal Method— and pairs them with artists from another genre to create something new. In the case of Ronson, he paired with jazz artists to come up with a new track. Skrillex partnered with The Doors. The tracks were created within days and really threw the musicians into the fire quickly.
In each case, the idea was to break down barriers. For Ronson, traveling to New Orleans to create the jazz track, was a great experience, especially getting to create with Modeliste. “Zigaboo laid the blueprint for all of us. The beats that he played are pretty much the DNA and back bone of hip hop.” Endearlingly, in the clip below, both Modeliste and Badu admit that they had the jitters on stretching themselves this way and making sure that they were able to please Ronson.