Dope Music You’ve Probably Heard But I Haven’t: Gary Clark Jr.

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Okay I know y’all have heard of this week’s artist. I’ve heard of him, I knew he was a performer, and I know for a fact I’ve heard him before. I have to admit, though, I never thought to explore his discography. I always just sort of took him for granted I guess as a name that perennially graces the set list of every major Texas music festival, a household I inexplicably, inexcusably really, never put in my own music house.

I’m talking of course about Mr. Gary Clark Jr. Dope music doesn’t even begin to describe Mr. Clark Jr.’s musical style and talent. He invented dope as a descriptor, but then gave it back when he outgrew it and everyone who wasn’t dope, who wasn’t even in the same city, let alone ballpark as his proficiency, started stealing it and allowing themselves to be called dope when in fact Gary Clark Jr. is the only musical artist who can rightfully be described, as dope.

That’s really the only evocative I can think of when I hear Gary Clark Jr.’s music. Every song I’ve come across is layered in talent and coolness and originality and style and superior lyricism and masterful production that when I hear all I can do as I realize I’m listening to a truly gifted talent, an honest to God generational artist, is think,,,dope.

My incredibly brief Wikipedia search cites Mr. Clark Jr. as a 35 year old Grammy winning Austinite signed to Warner Bros. records. Currently, he has six albums available on Apple Music, and I have no idea how many on Spotify or Pandora because I didn’t check. His latest album, This Land, is less than a month old, releasing on February 22nd. Right off the bat the album makes a statement. The first song is groovy and vindictively thought provoking, all around the song of a man who knows his worth and his truth, a combination that makes for a poignant lead single.

The rest of the album is a wild, awesome combo of techno infused blues and hip hop style tracks scattered with lyrics that sound as if they came out of Ryan Bingham’s songwriting book. This Land is a great album to introduce the maybe one other person on the planet who hasn’t heard of Gary Clark Jr. with, because it culminates all his tools of craft into their pinnacle. I’m only sad This Land is as new of a release as it is, because after stumbling upon Gary Clark Jr. while listening to Sean McConnell Apple Music I binged his discography like a GoTer hurtling to the end of the 7th season. Now I’m all out of new content and while there’s really not a single song of Mr. Clark Jr.’s that isn’t loopable, I’m so excited what albums after This Land are going to sound like.

I ought to be, and am, ashamed it took me so long to fully consume and appreciate an artist as generationally talented and hardworking as Gary Clark Jr.. He’s as authentic as they come, an artist whose work is a presentation of his lens, and I, and all, really, should be so grateful we’ve been allowed to look through it.

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