Back in the ’60s, Jimi Hendrix almost singlehandedly changed the face of rock music, introducing the world to the psychedelic sounds of his guitar and revolutionising the instrument. Were he around today, his producer, Eddie Kramer, believes he would still be a pioneering musician, most likely fronting the rap movement. “This whole idea of street music would have definitely influenced him,” he told BBC 6 Music. “Jimi was aware of everything that was going on, he was a musical sponge. The next step? Who knows? He may have even gotten into rap.”
Many rap artists have cited Hendrix as being a huge influence, including Del La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Run D.M.C and Beastie Boys. In the latest biopic about the guitarist&’s life, Andre 3000 of the rap duo OutKast, portrays him.
“I think about this all the time,” Kramer continued. “Not only would he have been a great record producer, he would also have had his own record company, a film company, a musical production company. He would have been an enormous force — pretty much like Jay-Z is today. He would have been king of the heap.”
The producer will feature in the documentary Electric Church, an in-depth look at one of Hendrix&’s last shows, his famous Atlanta Pop Festival set in 1970 in which he played 16 songs. Musicians Paul McCartney, Steve Winwood and Kirk Hamlett feature in the film, as well as erstwhile band mates Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell.
“We had just finished recording a lot of these songs at Electric Lady studios,” Kramer said. “So when the band are playing, they are tight.
“The amount of freedom that he had doing a live gig, based upon the work we had done in the studio — all of a sudden he could stretch out and make the solo twice as long and put all the bits that come to him as an improvisational piece.
“Any time Jimi straps on a guitar and plays live it&’s going to be pretty damn good. He was in his element. He love playing live.”