Robin Thicke And Janelle Monáe Cover VIBE’s 20-Year Anniversary Issue
In 1993, Ounicy Jones launched Vibe in hopes for it to become a cutting edge source in music and entertainment news. Twenty years later, it has become known for not only its news but creative and iconic covers, and to celebrate turning the big 2-0, Robin Thicke and Janelle Monae are featured on Vibe’s anniversary cover!
Both musicians represent how limitless the musical genre of R&B has become. This summer, Thicke has been on a musical high with his album and single of the same title, Blurred Lines topping the charts. Janelle Monae has not only changed the way Black women are viewed with her classic tuxedo uniform but has incorporated R&B with much needed millennial funk. Her upcoming album, The Electric Lady, will be noted as her crossover album and we cannot wait to hear her duet with her legendary music mentor, Prince. Vibe interviewed the two R&B game-changers during their celebratory photo-shoot, check out the excerpt below!
VIBE: How do you define your music?
Robin Thicke: I think what Janelle and I represent is boundaryless music. There is no one way to define her or what she does. And if you listen to my album, it’s the same thing. Sometimes I’m rockin’ out, sometimes it’s soul, sometimes there’s some bossa nova. Her and I are products of the generations of funk, soul, rock ’n’ roll—and then hip-hop coming into the mix—all becoming what this new generation is. We don’t want to be defined. We don’t want to be pigeonholed.
Janelle Monáe: One of the things I always say is, ‘Categorize me and I’ll defy every label.’ I think we just love great music. I think regardless, if Mick Jagger is doing it, or Stevie Wonder, or Prince, or somebody at church, that’s the soul. I think that we both represent a very diverse palette for music.
Thicke: I can tell she’s probably just like me—that as soon as somebody says, ‘Oh, you’re this.’ She goes, ‘Well, then let me show you what else I can do ’cause I’m not just one thing.’
Monáe: It’s about having fun.
THICKE: Well, not just that, but when you think about Stevie Wonder, or even Michael Jackson, you don’t say, ‘They’re R&B singers.’ You say, ‘That’s Stevie Wonder music. That’s Prince music.’
Monáe: They tried everything.
Thicke: I hope that after I make my 10, 20 albums people just go, ‘That’s Robin Thicke music. And when they hear Janelle, they know that’s Janelle Monáe music.’ That’s what we both try to accomplish. Even “Blurred Lines,” which is my greatest success…
Monáe: That’s the jam.
Thicke: Sounds a lot like my other music. I love all kinds of music, so I can’t possibly just make one kind. I’ll make a song called “Shakin’ It 4 Daddy” with Nicki Minaj, and then a song that sounds like Jimi Hendrix that’s all guitar and live music. Most of the music I’ve made is live band instrumentation, no drum machines.
Monáe: Same with me. We just finished [recording with] the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, and then came back and rocked Coachella. I get very bored with the concept of marginalizing music and saying because I’m an African-American woman I [have to] stick to this genre. My iPod [has everything] from Judy Garland to James Brown to Prince to the Talking Heads. It just needs to be great and it needs to move me.
Thicke: In the history of American music, black radio and white radio were segregated. But once everybody had rights…
Monáe: And could be on the cover of their album…
Thicke: And white people are on the cover of VIBE and black people on the cover of Rolling Stone, there are no more rules and that’s how it should be. We shouldn’t be judged by our color or one song that we made.
Monáe: We should be judged by the jam. Is it jammin’?
Thicke: Music is exploding right now and always will, because it’s not about the sound. It will always come down to the artist. What are they doing? What are they saying and how are they saying it?
Monáe: And is it believable?
Check out the rest of their interview where Thicke and Monae discuss sampling, sexuality and how women are in control.
Click the next page to see more photos from their shoot.