Live hip hop bands are rare and The Roots are the most unique of them all. With a prolific versatile sound centred around hip-hop they cover a plethora of genres also, including blues, jazz, soul, reggae, funk, rock and electronica. Over the years, they have produced sixteen albums and collaborated with numerous peers, including Erykah Badu, J Dilla, D’Angelo, Mos Def, Jill Scott and John Legend.
The intimate Jazz Café sold out quickly as, in my opinion, to be so close to the band and be able to see or appreciate their skills was a real honour and it inspired me to see these master musicians in action. It’s also the first venue in the UK that The Roots played in the early 1990s.
The show crossed a lot of genres but still always carried their funky sound. Each band member gave a solo which reflected this mix and showcased their influences. Black Thought hyped up the crowd initially by dropping tunes such as; James Brown – ‘I Know You Got Soul’, Kool and The Gang’s 1970s funk classic ‘Jungle Boogie’ and Damian Marley’s ‘Welcome to Jamrock’. He also inspired a hearty call and response with the crowd to raise the energy even higher. Kirk Douglas even rocked out to Guns N Roses ‘Sweet of Mine’.
The band took a short break and the crowd were entertained by Jeremy Ellis, a high energy DJ (USA) who played a variety of tracks ((hip-hop, soul, classical, folk, rock) from a laptop plus a sampler to produce beats, which was like watching the future of DJ-ing.
The Roots set list of original tracks included ‘What They Do’, ‘The Next Movement’, ‘Break You Off’, ‘Act Too’, ‘Get busy’, ‘You Got Me’ and ‘The Seed’. The show was an early one (7pm-10pm) perfect for a Sunday evening and we left chanting for more!
They are The “legendary” Roots. If you get the chance. See the show.
The Roots are an established multi-Grammy award winning band, formed in the 1980s, from Philadelphia USA – the home of Philly soul! Best known for being the resident band on The Jimmy Fallon Show and their hilarious outtake video’s withthe likes of Mariah Carey and Juston Timberlake.
The Root band members are: Black Thought (Lead Vocalist) and Questlove (Drummer and Vocalist) but are supported by Kirk Douglas (Electric Guitarist) and Mark Kelley (Bassist). For this particular event, there were eight band members which included a Percussionist, Trumpeter, Saxophonist, two keys players and a Sampler DJ.
Their upcoming album is due to be released in 2017.