Randolph first came to popular secular attention in 2001 through his work with John Medeski and The North Mississippi Allstars in the album The Word, which combined funk, blues, jazz and gospel. Jelly's Glenn Brooks called it "a 70-minute shout of joy ... Ecstatic, in every sense."
Comparisons have been made in the popular media between Randolph and a host of other spiritual musical performers, including Ray Charles, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, and Bob Marley, and he appears to be following a path similar to that of artists such as Sam Cooke and Al Green. Randolph achieved even more notice after he appeared on the 2003 Grammy Awards telecast with Earth, Wind & Fire, Parliament Funkadelic, and OutKast. His performance at the award ceremonies came just prior to the release of Unclassified, his first studio album, in 2004. Esquire's Andy Langer called Unclassified "a stunning declaration of talent" that shows Randolph "not only as a blue-chip musician, but as someone who's worth the most precious commodity of all---your faith ... Randolph is easy to believe in because he so clearly believes in himself."
Robert Randolph website