Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I love both Roots albums that came out this year: their collaboration with John Legend, Wake Up, is great. But How I Got Over is a classic. I wrote about it over the summer, and I still think it is an incredible album. I am a big fan of the band and their drummer Questlove, but I don't always love their albums.

If you've seen them on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, you know what a great and diverse band they are. They can go from backing Bruce Springsteen to Black Star to Christopher Cross.  They have always been a great band, but I would argue that working on the show has made them an even better band (I wonder if they would agree).  Their guest list on the album includes Jim James of Monsters of Folk/My Morning Jacket, John Legend, the ladies from Dirty Projectors and a number of underground hip-hop artists. It never seems forced or gimmicky, it's just that they can work with anyone, and really make it work. And they make it hip-hop.  I wouldn't have thought you could do that with such an unfunky group as Dirty Projectors.

The underground MCs they work with (Dice Raw, P.O.R.N., Phonte, Blu) are great, but none are as great as The Roots' lead MC, Black Thought. He doesn't get enough credit, I think it's because he's a quiet guy when he's not rocking the mic. But listen to dude's lyrics, he really is one of the best.

Check out: "Walk Alone," "Dear God 2.0," "Radio Daze," "Now Or Never," "How I Got Over," "The Day." Really the whole album though!

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