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The Roots


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I only got put onto The Roots with their latest album, "The Tipping Point", and I've been playing catchup since. First off, its important to point out that theyre a band - Black Thought's an amazing MC, but ?uestlove runs the drums, Hub on bass, Kamal on keyboards, Scratch (the human turntabilist), and and Ben Kenney on guitar. Anyone who's seen or heard them live knows: Hip-hop, as a genre, isnt known for its strong live performances; The Roots are the exception to this.


Another thing is that almost every album has a different feel to it, so while some might be fans of the jazzy sound of one, the next will be a hip-hop/rock collaboration - the only consistency is quality. It doesnt hurt that everyone from Mos Def & Kweli, Jill Scott, Pharoe Monch, Kanye, Musiq, etc work with them on the side, too.


I'll try to give mini-reviews of the albums as I go back through them, and oultine some of the best tracks, for but now, try downloading "The Seed 2.0", "Break you off", "The Web" (for an old-school lyrical flow), and if youre a fan of their one radio single recenlty, "Dont say nothing".


From Their site, a review of one of the better-known albums, Phrenology:



Phrenology Bio

3/24/2003 12:26:10 PM - by ashley d





Set for release November 26, 2002 on MCA, Phrenology marks a new musical high point for pioneering Hip-Hop band The Roots. The highly-anticipated follow up to their 1999 Grammy winning breakthrough Things Fall Apart, the new album finds the acclaimed group at the height of their powers – invoking varied and creative influences in a synthesis all their own. “There's a challenge after a big record,” says drummer/producer ?uestlove. "There's an instinct to try to duplicate it, or if you can't then to abandon your sound.

But I feel the challenge is to evolve."


This creative evolution is apparent from the first notes of "Rock You," announcing the arrival of a new Roots sound with a thick and insistent drum loop. A punk-tinged interlude leads seamlessly into the bubbling soul of "Sacrifice," (with backing vocals from Nelly Furtado). Named for an early discipline of psychology in which bumps in the skull were thought to indicate personality traits, the album's title echoes the distinct array of

textures employed in its creation, from smooth, layered soul to the hardest-edged battle rap.


"The Seed" fuses a driving garage-rock beat with Hip-Hop sensibility on insistent verses from Black Thought and soulful choruses from guest vocalist Cody Chesnutt. The album's centerpiece is the ten minute plus track "Water," with a heavily syncopated beat and bubbly and driving bass line underpinning a lyric both personal and aggressive - before veering into an experimental sonic landscape unprecedented in the band's career. On the first single, "Break You Off," the album demonstrates it can be as danceable as it is cerebral, with a tightly arranged groove and fluid R&B vocals from Musiq.


Other guest appearances include Talib Kweli, Jill Scott, and poet Amiri Baraka, who contributed the poem "Something in the Way of Things (In Town)" specifically for the record.


Several of Phrenology's tracks were debuted live on the 2002 Smokin' Grooves Tour, which The Roots co-headlined. "Scorching material... If Phrenology makes good on the promise of [the Smokin' Grooves] preview, The Roots have a chance... to execute a long, slow build from critical darlings to household names." said The Newark Star Ledger, a sentiment echoed by critics nationwide. "The Roots have developed some of the most richly textured, sensual grooves in hip hop,"said the New York Daily News.

"Whatever the band does it does extremely well, making it hard to imagine that anyone else will even catch up." agrees the Contra Costa Times.


In addition to the 14 tracks of new songs, Phrenology will be released as an enhanced CD with exclusive content including live performance material, music videos, and other exclusive behind-the-scenes footage.


Phrenology is The Roots' sixth album overall - their fourth major-label studio album, following Do You Want More? (1995), Illadelph Halflife (1996), and the RIAA-certified Gold breakthrough Things Fall Apart, (1999) which earned the band a Grammy for Best Performance By a Rap Duo or Group for "You Got Me."

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Ok, I didn't have anything to add to what you said, but you obviously want some support here. I first heard about the Roots when I lived in New Hope PA (they are Philly local I believe and got together as students attending a music school). It's true that there sound varied alot from jazzy to bluesy to funky to rock to straight-up but high quality hip-hop, and that it's all really good. I had some of there stuff on mp3, but lost it in a crash and never redownloaded it. You have any links to torrents of their full albums, Nick?

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Glad you asked: their complete discography (including live shit) can be found at Oink's pink palace, prolly the best torrent site ive seen for music - you gotta register with em, but they dont enforce a ratio yet. They keep nothing less than 100% working and 192kbs + albums, great place.


I keep them on mp3 & CD myself, lemme know if you want some burns - i dont feel bad :D ing bands like this if it gets them the attenton they deserve.

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Let me get this straight: you want me to use one of my last chances to get someone into the greatest hip-hop (and other) music torrent site out there, to get The Roots discography, but you dont wanna try the song being hosted on our servers, and lemme know what you think?

That's taking slack to a whole new level. I hope more folks on here give it a go, tho, its a great track, not what youre expecting.

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  • 3 weeks later...

So that's how you want to play the game....



As it happens I downloaded that track last night. Its some good stuff. It's a shame that mainstream rap ( and if I can make a horrible genralisation) music by black people is produce by such money hungry morons, who have to fall bellow a minimum IQ to get a contract.


What's that Bittorent site like, pisses me off that you can't even see the torrents without a login.




And as an aside, I liked Smile, I meant to post on the thread before.

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yeah, its private but its a cool community, they fill requests & have a lotta good music; i mainly get rap & jazz from them. Hip-hop wise, they get bootlegs, mixtapes etc in almost record time, and always 192kbs (cd-quality) or above. Nowadays, theyre invite-only, and i think im outta invites, but ill check if ya want.


"Smile" is which one now?

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  • 5 months later...

Jay-Z to sign The Roots...?


Jay-Z To Sign Roots, Hints At Return Album

Monday - September 12, 2005


After launching Roc La Familia, Jay-Z is now looking to introduce Def Jam Left,"an artist-driven label with very low deals so people are not pressured by first-week Soundscan [sales]," says the music mogul.


Hov is presently in talks with The Roots and is hoping to make the band the first act of the new Left label.


"I'm talking to the Roots right now," Hov told Billboard. "I'm confident to put out there that we might make this happen. The label would probably begin at the top of the year, but I hope to have the Roots signed by the time they get off their international tour."


The Roots are presently putting the finishing touches on their 7th album, Game Theory. The record features appearances by Mos Def and Talib Kweli. Meanwhile, Hov, who has been popping up on more songs lately, hinted that he might make a return to rapping.


"You all are hearing things from me -- you just haven't heard an album," Hova told Billboard. "Who knows? I'm still going in the studio, getting on remixes and things like that. But it's the people. When people want something bad enough, it happens. And they want it bad (laughs). I'm trying to hold out, but I don't know how long I can."


First Kanye sets up "Good music" with Common on his new label, now this....here's to hip-hop's best-kept secrets finally gettin the attention they deserve.

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  • 10 months later...
Have Phrenology a while now and I've haven't given it a proper listen yet.


Must do


I downloaded what must have been the Root's work to date but couldn't get into most of it nothing else I heard had the punch of The Seed. It's disappeared from my hard drive, possibly in a crash, but if anyone could recommend me some specific tracks or albums I'd be willing to give them another try on the strength of the Seed.

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  • 5 years later...

damn, it's been a minute for this thread. I guess i talked up Undun in the hip-hop thread, cool to see them as the house band for Kimmel.


my tickets to their show came in the mail today! can't wait, ive seen videos of their live performances, and they've been so good.

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it was weird; they said either mail or pick em up at the venue, which i figured would have a line. not that i got a working printer at home, but that's what jobs are for!


and yeah man, looking forward to it! i havent been to a good show in a while.

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Even back in the day before such a thing as printing out your own tickets* existed, I didn't like having tickets mailed. I was always concerned they'd get lost or delayed and I'd get screwed out of seeing the show. Anyway, what's the venue?



*Side rant: Fucking Ticketbastard still charges a fee for printing out your own ticket! I use my printer and my ink and they have the nerve to tack on a separate fee? Fucking bastards. And on top of that, when you do print out your ticket, it has an advertisement on the page. Grrr.

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adrienne arsht center in downtown MIA - going with a buddy from work and Space Cowboy!


and that's pretty shady, charging to let you print your own shit, haha. im glad i didn't think too much about the prospect of those tickets getting lost in the mail or i prolly wouldve opted to pick them up at the venue - thankfully they arrived this week.

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