alternative hip hop
One of hip hop’s deepest units, and definitely the liveliest. They rock you, funk you, jazz you, and make you think. The Roots don’t deal with clichés.
Back in 1987 rapper Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and drummer Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson were friends at the Philadelphia High School of Creative Performing Arts. They had no money for DJ gear so they created live hip hop with BT’s raps and ?uestlove’s drum grooves. Today the original twosome lead a new line-up that, after some changes, includes keyboards, bass, guitar and percussion.
Since their indie debut Organix (1993) the band has done ten major label albums, among them the Illadelph Halflife (1996) and Things Fall Apart (1999), classics that were followed by the burning live record The Roots Come Alive. Featuring guests, like Young Chris, Pharoahe Monch and veteran singer Andy Bey, their brand new 11th album How I Got Over expresses optimism after some darker albums for Obama following Bush as the US president. “The challenge is to evolve”, says ?uestlove, whose phenomenal groovalistics shine also on Philadelphia Experiment’s cool jazz funk.