Artist: Herbie Hancock
Song: Watermelon Man
Album: Head Hunters
Most associate Herbie Hancock with traditional jazz, but a deeper look into his catalog proves that a mistake. Take for instance his work on the album “Head Hunters,” which when released in 1973 took jazz and hip hop in a new direction.
“Watermelon Man,” featured below, showcases the blend. With a slightly cheesy intro loop that lends to visions of thick jungle brush and humid summers, Hancock slowly works the song into a bumping hip hop beat. A couple minutes later, the keyboards are taking a jazzy stroll over the track. “Head Hunters” would pave the way for a new batch of fusion pioneers, influencing a wide array of bands — just listen to the impact this track had to have had on the then newborn group, Steely Dan.
Dean Goranites | Associate Editor