Questlove & Yasiin Bey Praise Bad Brains’ H.R. In An Upcoming Documentary (Video)
Since the late 1970s, Bad Brains changed the face of Punk Rock music. The Washington, D.C. collective was an all-Black band that blended the hard sounds of early Punk with messages associated with their Rastafarian beliefs. Songs like “Banned In D.C.,” “Pay To Cum” and “Sailin’ On” (all from their 1982 eponymous debut) have become Punk classics.
On that album and many that followed, H.R. provided lead vocals, as well as guitar. An acronym for “Human Rights,” H.R. is an English-born singer who influenced many after him, well beyond the confines of Punk. In upcoming documentary Finding Joseph I: An Oral History Of H.R., The Roots’ Questlove and Yasiin Bey (f/k/a Mos Def) weigh in on the showmanship and unique style of the legend—who has reportedly spent extended periods of his life without a home. “You have to experience H.R. You don’t talk about H.R.; you experience it,” Bey tells the camera. The film apparently examines H.R.’s personal struggles and artistic greatness at once.
This film was crowd-funded starting in 2013, and will release on January 17. More than 450 backers raised over $400,000 to see the documentary through.
In 2008, H.R. appeared with Bad Brains bassist Darryl Jenifer on Non-Phixion/La Coka Nostra member Ill Bill’s Hour Of Reprisal album. The artist provided vocals to “Riya,” a dedication to Bill’s daughter. Jenifer is a founding member of The White Mandingos, with Murs and Sacha Jenkins. Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys produced Bad Brains’ 2007 LP, Build A Nation. Their most recent release, 2012’s Into The Future is said to be a tribute to him.
Last week, Bad Brains joined Tupac Shakur, Kraftwerk, Janet Jackson, Chaka Khan, Chic, and others as 2017 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductee nominees.