Had breakfast today with my favorite agent, Robert Newman of William Morris Endeavor (see profile I wrote of Robert here). We were talking about the brilliance of Chris Rock and I remembered something Rock said when I interviewed him about D’Angelo for GQ. It was when I asked Rock why he’d been in the studio while D was recording the Voodoo album. His answer was that recording studios for black artists are like the Hall of Justice for superheroes. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find a place for it in the story. Herewith, the exchange:
Chris Rock: I’m around recording studios lot. I don’t know how to explain it. You know, I got tons of white friends, but as far as guys my age, artistic — there’s less comedians, especially in New York, especially black ones. So, hey, Mos Def is my age and, hey, I’m hanging out with Kanye in the studio. I ended up on the Kanye album. And they’re people you can talk to about this black fame thing.
Me: Right. I know they would all have something to say about it.
Rock: Everybody’s got an opinion. You know, watch the cartoons. The superheroes hang out in the Hall of Justice with the other superheroes. Superman doesn’t just hang in a bar. He hangs out at the League of Justice. When you get too isolated, you can go crazy. But that’s the cool thing about living in New York or L.A. You can be around artists. You can be in the Hall of Justice. And just by being around a bunch of people that are working on shit makes you work on shit. That’s always the question. “What are you working on? Let me hear it.”