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“Bass check! 1,2 !...”

*Leonard Hub strums the upright*

“Keys check! 1,2 !...”

*A few key strokes from a young Scott Storch*

“Drums check! 1,2 !...”

*A single hi-hat from the enigmatic ?uestlove*

“It’s The Roots…”

Just like the song says, sit back and relax to hip-hop’s illest rhythm section. The Roots crew is one of the dopest acts in music, bar-none. The ability and creativity are matched by none in hip-hop. Let’s see, we haaavvvveee…Black Thought, who is one of the most complete MCs of all time, plus tracks that stay bangin’ like vatos locos. Seriously, how can you put on a LP like 1995’s Do You Want More?!!!??! and NOT rock with this shit?!!!??!

“You are all about to witness…some organic hip-hop jazz…”

On this LP, we have Black Thought and Malik B exchanging rhymes. Then, you got the band…?uestlove on the drums, Leonard Hubbard on the bass, and Scott Storch on the keys. This is The Roots in their natural form…no samples or other artificial additives. First, you got the singles: “Proceed,” and “Distortion to Static” where Thought and Malik straight spit it out, goin’ back and forth over vibes that scream ATCQ a la The Low End Theory. Then you get something like “I Remain Calm,” where Hub infiltrates your mind with the bass-line, and Storch’s keys seem to hover over a track that Black Thought simply manhandles. You get that left-wing, doo-wop shit with a track like “Datskat,” takin’ it back to that Stetsasonic feel(w/ help from trumpeter Graham Haynes).

Then they get very, very live, with tracks like “Essaywhuman?!!!??!,” where Thought goes back and forth with each instrument using onomatopoeias and straight vocal cords, or “Do You Want More?!!!??!” where BT and Dice Raw flow heavy over a simple track that ignites with the use of bagpipes by way of Rufus Harley. On “Silent Treatment,” BT puts together a story about a chick who can’t stop playin’ games over an intricate track featuring a soothing saxophone riff at the end. The Roots hone all their skills on “Mellow My Man,” where Thought confirms the fact that the “Roots is really true to this rap shit,” then flips the chorus on some Das EFX tip at the end. Not to mention they throw in a full jazz breakdown which is simply redic. On DYWM?!!!??!, you get 64 minutes of The Roots on their own shit...that laid-back, funky-ass, melodic hip-hop jazz. They just came through with their own style, and delivered it with no remorse. Truth is I do want more, and you should, too...

“ I wonder if we lost us // It’s bigger than me and you, it’s monstrous… “

In a world where “hip-hop records are treated as though they are disposable,” The Roots have constantly broken hip-hop’s Code of Geneva by bringing new styles every time they drop. They’ve been hushing critics since their inception, and they bring so much to the culture that I could probably talk this shit about the group all day. Fact is...The Roots are pioneers of that next level of hip-hop, and one of the best acts of our generation, not just the band who backed Jay on MTV’s Unplugged. I ain’t even gonna act holier than thou, because I wasn’t even checkin’ for The Roots myself in 1995 when they first dropped this gem, but I DO fully understand their concept and the importance of what they come with…

“ Because if you love music, and you love the good shit, you definitely fuckin’ with this… “

As far as the future, they recently put out two “Home Grown…” compilations (put together by ?uestlove himself) to close their deal with Geffen. Now, they’re the first act on Jay-Z’s new imprint, Def Jam Left. I’m sincerely hoping that The Roots revert back to that live shit on Game Theory, their upcoming release. Plus, I wouldn’t be mad if Malik B decided to stop fuckin’ with the water and return to the group. Either way, Black Thought will still be droppin’ jewels, and the band is still The Roots…You know, what the game’s really been missing.

The Roots - Do You Want More?!!!??!



Contributing Writer/Official Co-D

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