Before her death this past May, Dr. Maya Angelou had been working on a unique music project she had been actively involved with over the last seven years. The highly anticipated project, Caged Bird Songs, finally debuted last month. Produced by RoccStarr and Shawn Rivera, the album pairs some of Dr. Angelou’s most famous poems and lyrics with hip hop beats, R&B, blues, jazz and more.
In addition to the album, the production team has just launched an animated, lyric video for the track Pickin’ Em Up, giving fans of the legendary poet a new way to enjoy Dr. Angelou’s inspired work.
“She loved everything, from pop to country and, of course, hip-hop and was really excited about her street-wise commentary being presented in this way.”
Dr. Angelou’s grandson, Colin Johnson says that putting her words to hip-hop is a way to bring his grandmother’s messages to a new generation. “With her dedication to social activism and how she illuminated the struggles and injustices of the urban experience through prose, there’s a direct correlation to hip-hop today. It’s a valuable message, no matter what generation. And I want that message to continue on for many different years.”
Though best known for her poetry and Grammy Awards for her spoken word recordings, Dr. Angelou also had a brief, but notable music career including a critically acclaimed Calypso album and numerous song writing collaborations with musical greats BB King, Roberta Flack and Ashford & Simpson.