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In the Studio

In the Studio: Black Keys and Mos Def!


From Karen O’s star-studded Wild Things soundtrack to Thom Yorke’s new band with Flea, it’s an awesome year for supergroups and dream collabos. One of the best yet: Blakroc, a new project from blues-rock duo Black Keys, featuring rappers Jim Jones, Q-Tip, Wu-Tang’s Raekwon and RZA, Ludacris, and Mos Def!

Sessions for their self-titled debut album, due Nov. 27, kicked off this summer in Brooklyn with Mos Def, and the smarty-pants boys of Black Keys brought along a video camera — check out behind-the-scenes-footage from the studio below!

The nearly eight-minute clip — the second in a series of webisodes to be unveiled at — shows how one track was recorded. When Mos Def arrives at the studio, the Black Keys (yes, that’s guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach; he shaved his beard) present the rapper with a hard-hitting blues track with rumbling bass — and Def gets right to work. “Your pure heart / Is super cool / You’re are elemental / You’re sweet and you’re true,” he ad-libs in a soft croon (Def never writes down lyrics).

After a little mixing in the control room, the guys play the track back. Hip-hop magnate Damon Dash, who, according to Billboard, is releasing the album on BlakRoc records, his new venture with the Black Keys, approves of the song, dancing in circles and flinging his chain. It’s a weird scene as he spins alongside a few quaint hipsters girls and the grizzly Keys. But the music is undeniable: “It’s got a good beat, you can dance to it — It’s got that right feel!” Def shouts.

Below, watch footage of Mos Def and the Black Keys rocking out in the studio, and working on a second song with Def spitting a poetic rhymes about life and learning over sinister bass and screeching guitar.

WATCH: Black Keys and Mos Def In the Studio