If I were to make a guess about RJD2‘s influences solely based on his music and my assumptions, I think his parents listened a lot of R&B and old Soul records, and that he watched a lot of Sunday morning cartoons as a kid. As he grew older, he obviously dove headfirst into hip-hop. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had Kraftwerk stage, or got into Aphex Twin and Orbital at some point.
RJD2 was born Ramble John Krohn (The “RJ” part) and took his pseudonym from a friend who played off R2D2‘s name. While most of his music was released under his own name, he’s collaborated quite a bit, with Blueprint as Soul Position, Icebird with Aaron Livingston, as well as production work with The Roots, Aesop Rock and Massive Attack.
His debut, “Deadringer” from 2002 may be the best place to start if you’ve never heard his music before. Although, as you work through his catalog, you’ll soon find that you’ve been surrounded by his music for years, whether it’s been in commercials, movie soundtracks, or the theme from Mad Men.
RJD2’s most recent record, “More than it isn’t,” was released last September, and is sixty minutes of dense, boiled-down hip-hop production. There isn’t a superfluous anything throughout the 16 songs. Everything is in it’s place, comfortable, adept and cohesive.
Maybe that’s Krohn’s lesson for this Sunday. Get rid of the unnecessary, the things in your life that are just there, neither serving a purpose nor holding any real value. For me, that would probably mean the broken Yoda doll, pictures of my ex-girlfriend and the textbook from my college Algebra class.