Anyone buying Kamasi Washington‘s latest album, Heaven and Earth, expecting four LPs’ worth of shimmering spiritual jazz was in for a surprise: There was actually a fifth.
Sealed inside a perforated pocket in the center of the package is The Choice, an unannounced record (or, on smaller racks, a CD) featuring 38 additional minutes of Washington, a more smoothed-out affair including covers of songs made famous by the Shirelles (“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”) and the Five Stairsteps (“O-o-h Child”). To access it, fans actually have to slice open the package.
“The whole idea of the record to me is a record of empowerment,” says Washington of Heaven and Earth — even without The Choice, an undertaking that was over two hours long. “We do have the power to kind of make this world what we want it to be. But we have to just choose to do it ourselves and not wait for someone else. … It was in there, it’s in the music without The Choice, but I just wanted to kind of reiterate it with [the hidden record] aspect of it.”