Following a previous post on another little-known band: “The Small Faces”, I feel it’s fitting I follow up with a review of another little-known band called: “The Roots” A quick look at their Wikipedia page tells you that they should be ANYTHING but little known, going by the sheer list of achievements they have accrued over the years; but to me, that is EXACTLY what they are. Out of ALL the hip-hop lovers I have met and interacted with, very few are aware of such a band like “The Roots” I hope that this article may serve as a starting point for those of you who have not heard of this band before, and for those of you who HAVE heard of the band; I hope this article will compel you to hear their music.
“The Roots” is a hip-hop/R&B/Soul band, started up by two young men: Tariq Luqmaan Trotter (Black Though) and Ahmir Kahalib Thompson (?uestlove) in 1987. Their songs’ lyrical content is matched with stellar composition from the variety of band members they have recruited (and dismissed) in the past. “The Roots”, are one of the few, mainstream, hip-hop BANDS. It’s, however, almost painful to even consider mentioning some of the other band-mates, once involved in the creation and the codification of “The Roots” as the one, true Hip-Hop Band.
The songs “The Roots” cover mostly address themes of cultural background, diasporic struggles, ongoing political and social unres. For those of you who don’t really mind what the CONTENT of a song entails, the sheer technique employed in the creation will do more than enough to tide you over. For those who don’t UNDERSTAND the content, “The Roots” will ALWAYS succeed at enlightening listeners, bringing them up to scratch and driving them to learn and do more.
In addition to which, “The Roots” are nothing short of the hardest working bands to ever achieve mainstream success. Despite making the recent and controversial decision to perform as the in-house band for “The Jimmy Fallon Show”, the band still aims to push out new albums that still retain the quality and meaning that they have always strove for, all while contending with the immense workload they have built up for themselves through sold out jam-sessions, and weekly compositions for “The Jimmy Fallon Show”.
To start with, I would recommend the album: “Things Fall Apart” followed by “Phrenology”, “Undun” and then “Wake Up!”
While some (or most) will most certainly disagree with me, “The Roots” is a band that has NEVER achieved popular success. Having eschewed fame and publicity through the media, “The Roots” stay true to their name by maintaining close contact with their fans, the very root inspirations for their music.
Now, “The Roots” is not a band that everyone will take to immediately. It is however a band that deserves to be heard at least once.