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For Detroit-born BLKBOK, inspiration ranges from Mozart to Mos Def


Like many who came of age in the 1990s, Charles Wilson III was a diehard hip-hop fan, galvanized by the likes of Biggie and Busta Rhymes.

But the Detroit-born piano prodigy had another, unconventional musical ace up his sleeve: He was an exceptional classical music talent.

Today, performing and recording as BLKBOK — that’s “Black Bach” — he has been the subject of increasing attention and acclaim, touring the country with a growing body of original piano work steeped in Black American history.

Detroit-born pianist BLKBOK has just released his second album of classically infused music with hip-hop themes.

His latest album is “9,” named in tribute to the Little Rock Nine and released on Sept. 25 — the 66th anniversary of the first full day of school for those Arkansas integration trailblazers. The date was important enough to BLKBOK that he eschewed the record industry’s standard Friday release schedule to accommodate a Monday drop.



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