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Jimi Hendrix’s Producer Thinks He Would Have ‘Pioneered Rap’ If He’d Lived

Jimi Hendrix
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Almost from the moment he died, people have wondered where Jimi Hendrix‘s brilliant musical mind might have taken him — and his listeners — if he’d lived. Producer Eddie Kramer, who worked with him late in his career, thinks rewriting the rules of rock guitar would have been only the beginning for Hendrix.

“This whole idea of street music would have definitely influenced him,” Kramer’s quoted as saying in a recent BBC Radio 6 interview. “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.”

The idea of Hendrix as a hip-hop artist might cause a few longtime fans to sputter, but it isn’t something Kramer said lightly. “I think about this all the time,” he continued. “Not only would he have been a great record producer, but he would 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.”

Kramer’s interview was timed to promote a new piece of posthumous Hendrix product, the concert documentary Electric Church, which captures his performance at the 1970 Atlanta Pop Festival. Following a recent theatrical engagement, the film is scheduled to arrive on DVD and Blu-ray Oct. 30; a double-disc audio soundtrack arrived in late August. You can check out Hendrix’s Electric Church rendition of “Purple Haze” now.

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