Sadly, because the dreadful insipid gangsta rap genre got way too much exposure on musical channels, many people assume that’s all there is to know about rap and hip hop…
Yet, there are many great hip hop bands that have incredible talent, lots of interesting things to say, and a unique way of performing.
The Roots is one of these bands that definitely have something special. This American hip hop group from Philadelphia has an groovy jazzy feel. The musical instruments are always up front: the keyboards, the drums, the base, the guitar… and the wonderful rapping sounds like an instrument as well. There’s a magical moment on the 1999 live “Come alive” CD when the rapping indicates how the musical phrase will be played subsequently by each instrument. A unique musical experience.
The Roots sing about human society and life’s struggles with intelligent and insightful lyrics, great rhythms and really catchy beats. As far as I can remember, every album met with critical acclaim. Their breakthrough album “Things fall apart” remains a classic. With such wonderful songs as Adrenaline, 100% dundee, You got me (with Erika Badu), Next Movement, Step into the Realm, … it’s a great way to get acquainted with their music.