This weekend VH1 Soul played The Roots videography all weekend long. As a longtime fan, it was exciting to see my post High School years dance before my very eyes. I graduated in ’95, the year Do You Want More was released and The Roots Crew have subsequently dropped an album, on average, every 2 years since. I can even vividly recall our introduction, seeing Proceed on Rap City with The Roots rhyming on a Philadelphia rooftop. Their sound was equal parts ATCQ and Rakim, soulful Hip Hop with the proverbial lyrics to go. They were the first Little Brother, the first group to take the lessons of the forerunners of jazzy, sample based Hip Hop and effectively imitate it, all while advancing the aesthetic. Although they were a novelty, a Hip Hop band, this never defined them. Instead, it seems, they focused on making music so dope that it didn’t matter what they were. Ultimately they have become highly successful scenesters that have influenced all facets of Hip Hop media from the internet (Okayplayer.com) to television (Jimmy Fallon).
At the risk of getting lengthy, their 5th but 3rd studio album, Things Fall Apart remains one of my favorites. It also marks the beginning of sorts for The Roots. They finally won a Grammy amongst other accolades, and tiptoed further into the mainstream consciousness while losing frontman Malik B. To announce the coming of this The Roots album, they sought assistance from Phily homeboy DJ Jazzy Jeff who mixed what has become lauded as one of the greatest promo mixeTAPES ever.