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The Roots US

The Roots

Pohoda 2019 will feature one of the best hip-hop bands ever, the legendary The Roots. Their live performances are considered the best in this genre, but due to their duties in The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, they are quite an exclusive thing to experience. They only regularly play at The Rooots Picnic festival hosted by them in native Philadelphia. Fortunately, it takes place every year in June! So Questlove, Black Thought and the band will be able to showcase their organic hip-hop jazz also at the Trenčín airport.

The Roots originated with drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and rapper Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter at the end of eighties while they were both attending a high school for the creative and performing arts. The group of street musicians would often change their name until they settled with The Square Roots, but not for too long: they dropped “Square” because a local folk band had a similar name. The band was joined by Malik B. and bass player Leonard “Hub” Hubbard. Unable to break through, the band moved to London, where they debuted with Organix. Subsequently, they signed with DGC/Geffen and released their first US album Do You Want More?!!!??! under this label. The album opened the doors for them to Lollapalooza and Montreux Jazz Festival. Their third album, Illadelph Halflife, hit the Top 40 of Billboard 200 charts. It featured many artists grouped around the neo-soul collective Soulquarians such as Common, DʼAngelo, and Q-Tip.

A definitive breakthrough in their career was the album Things Fall Apart. It peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 charts, and the single “You Got Me” with Erykah Badu won the Grammy Award. Pitchfork rated it 9.4 out of 10 in a retrospective review: its author Marcus J. Moore said that the album was a turning point in their career, where they figured out what kind of band they could be; both its themes and its eclectic mix of sounds resonate in the current moment. At the end of 2001, the band backed rapper Jay-Z for the recording of his MTV Unplugged concert. Rap and hip-hop portal DJ-Booth has included the concert on the second place of the best live hip-hop albums of all time using the following words: “You might expect not everything in Jay-Z’s discography to easily translate to a live rendition, but The Roots aren’t just any band.” The same portal placed the live record of The Roots Come Alive with no hesitation on the first place of the chart and simply stated: “It may not come as a surprise that hip-hop’s greatest live band released hip-hop’s greatest live album (just for the record, Kayne West is on the fourth and Lauryn Hill on the second place)”.

Shortly followed another fantastic album Phrenology. Its name referred to a pseudo-scientific theory, according to which the shape of the head (the skull) had an effect on the intelligence or character of man. The aim of the supporters of the theory was to rationalize racism. The album, which is a brilliant combination of alternative hip-hop and neo-soul, was (like many others) included in the annual charts of the best albums. It includes one of the greatest hits of the band, “The Seed (2.0)”,featuring Cody ChesnuTT. Next came another successful album, The Tipping Point. The byproduct of several jam sessions won two Grammy nominations and peaked at No. 4 in the US charts. Two Grammy nominations went also to the 2006 album Game Theory. It was followed by the darker Rising Down and the more optimistic How I Got Over

At that time, they began their long-term collaboration with NBC on the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show that continued in The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The band recorded the title track “Here I Come” and is also involved in various regular formats or unique sketches across these popular shows. It is worth to mention, for example, “History of Rap” with Justin Timberlake and the “Classroom Instruments Sketch” format, where they accompany other world-renowned stars on musical instruments for children (or they perform a capella). They are responsible for funny cover versions of songs like “Sesame Street theme song”“Hello” (Adele), “Blurred Lines” (Robin Thicke), “Enter Sandman” (Metallica), “All I Want for Christomas” (Mariah Carey) and many more, while these funny videos have tens of millions of views on YouTube.  Another milestone is album featuring the collaboration with John Legend Wake Up!, for which they won Grammy in the Best R&B Album category. They also won Grammy the song “Hang On In There” included in the same record. Next came another critically acclaimed album Undun and recordings with Betty Wright and Elvis Costell. The latest album released so far was ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin (2014) . They are currently working on the album End Game, for which they had composed nearly 300 songs in 2017. It should go out in 2019, so hopefully the visitors of the Pohoda festival may be among the first to listen to it.