Category: The Roots

The Roots – Illadelph Halflife

ARTIST: The Roots                           Illadelph

TITLE: Illadelph Halflife

YEAR RELEASED: 1996

CHART ACTION: #21 US, #4 R&B

SINGLES: Clones (#101 US, #62 R&B, #11 Rap), What They Do (#34 US, #21 R&B, #5 Rap, #49 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Lord, no

LINEUP: Black Thought, Kid Crumbs, Dice Raw, Rahzel, Hub Hubbard, Questlove, Kamal Gray with guests Bahamadia, Raphael Saadiq, Common, D’Angelo, Q-Tip, Urusula Rucker, and Cassandra Wilson.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Roots begin to become a force in the music community with their beats, raps, and inventive arrangements.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The sound of the Roots is like no other group, as they incorporate so many elements yet remain unique. That started here, with the production and direction of Questlove and other producers.

They were also quite anomalous for the time, as instead of acting hedonistically gangster, the Roots tackle several serious topics with street smarts still in place, but actual coherent political thought replacing mindless braggadocio.

The Roots started to get notice in the pop world as well, with a Top 40 single, and guests collaborating as equals to the band and not overwhelming them. A fantastic album.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: A few copies had the track list starting at #34, with their first two albums being tracks 1-33.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No 

GRADE: A: The Roots sound of today is here.

 

The Roots – Do You Want More?!!!??!

ARTIST: The Roots                                         220px-Doyouwantmore

TITLE: Do You Want More?!!!??!

YEAR RELEASED: 1995

CHART ACTION: #104, #22 Hip-Hop, #2 Heatseekers

SINGLES: Distortion to Static (#96 R&B, #25 Rap), Proceed (#123, #79 R&B, #13 Rap), Silent Treatment (#105 R&B, #31 Rap)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Probably not unless you’re a fan.

LINEUP: Black Thought, Questlove, Kamal Gray, Malik B, Scott Storch, Nikki Yeoh. Guests include Elo, Cassandra Wilson, Dice Raw, and Ursula Rucker.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Roots really begin here – using jazz, rock, R&B, and other music and sounds to create innovative and provocative hip-hop.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It seems the Roots have always been with us, melding hip-hop with all kinds of sounds, writing provocative rhymes, and keeping the genre fresh and innovative. But they didn’t emerge from the underground until 1995.

Even though some of the raps are angry sounding, they definitely were going against the ‘gangster’ genre into more of a politically focused style. Produced by the Roots and the Grand Negaz, this is definitely an antidote to what hip-hop was going to become, with an emphasis on real music and not samples. Definitely ahead of its time.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Personnel would change as always, but keyboardist Kamal Gray joined and hasn’t left yet. He’s the longest tenured behind Questlove and Black Thought.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: A-: A bold statement from a bold, innovative band.

The Roots – Organix

ARTIST: The Roots 220px-Roots_Organix
TITLE: Organix
YEAR RELEASED: 1993
CHART ACTION: #93 R&B
SINGLES: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I don’t think so since this was independently released by the Roots, though some numbers stayed in the show for a while.
LINEUP: ?uestlove, Black Thought, Scott Storch, Malik B., Leonard Hubbard, Kid Crumbs and assorted guests
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Independent release by Philly hip-hop band creates a buzz and gets them signed.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Roots’ debut doesn’t have quite the focus of their later releases, but the modus operandi is clear. Instead of using sampled beats and instruments, they use their own powerful band, led by ?uestlove.

They sound like a fun, party band here, with several ‘posse cuts’ that include friends and relatives. Black Thought’s raps and rhymes are strong – there’s not enough of them, and you can’t deny the music put up by ?uestlove , Leonard Hubbard and Scott Storch.

Some intros and such are exiled, and the ‘posse’ cuts could go, really – one is over 12 minutes long! At any rate, this got charted when it was distributed here and got them signed, which was a great thing.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They made this CD to sell at their shows in Europe, originally.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B-: Sounds like a typical debut. A little unfocused and scattered. The building blocks are here, though, as long as they would lose the ‘posse’ cuts.