The Roots

  • 2
  • 0
The World Famous Roots Crew
The Roots

Though popular success has largely eluded the Roots, the Philadelphia group showed the way for live rap, building on Stetsasonic’s “hip-hop band” philosophy of the mid-’80s by focusing on live instrumentation at their concerts and in the studio. Though their album works have been inconsistent affairs, more intent on building grooves than pushing songs, the Roots’ live shows are among the best in the business.

The Roots’ focus on live music began back in 1987 when rapper Black Thought (Tariq Trotter) and drummer ?uestlove (Ahmir Khalib Thompson) became friends at the Philadelphia High School for Creative Performing Arts. Playing around school, on the sidewalk, and later at talent shows (with ?uestlove’s drum kit backing Black Thought’s rhymes), the pair began to earn money and hooked up with bassist Hub (Leon Hubbard) and rapper Malik B. Moving from the street to local clubs, the Roots became a highly tipped underground act around Philadelphia and New York. When they were invited to represent stateside hip-hop at a concert in Germany, the Roots recorded an album to sell at shows; the result, Organix, was released in 1993 on Remedy Records. With a music industry buzz surrounding their activities, the Roots entertained offers from several labels before signing with DGC that same year.

The Roots’ first major-label album, Do You Want More?!!!??!, was released in January 1995; forsaking usual hip-hop protocol, the album was produced without any samples or previously recorded material. It peaked just outside the Top 100, but was mostly ignored by fans of hip-hop. Instead, Do You Want More?!!!??! made more tracks in alternative circles, partly due to the Roots playing the second stage at Lollapalooza that summer. The band also journeyed to the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Two of the guests on the album who had toured around with the band, human beatbox Rahzel the Godfather of Noyze — previously a performer with Grandmaster Flash and LL Cool J — and Scott Storch (later Kamal), became permanent members of the group.

Early in 1996, the Roots released Clones, the trailer single for their second album. It hit the rap Top Five, and created a good buzz for the album. The following September, Illadelph Halflife appeared and made number 21 on the album charts. Much like its predecessor, though, the Roots’ second LP was a difficult listen. It made several very small concessions to mainstream rap — the bandmembers sampled material that they had recorded earlier at jam sessions — but failed to make a hit of their unique sound. The Roots’ third album, 1999′s Things Fall Apart, was easily their biggest critical and commercial success; The Roots Come Alive followed later that year.

The long-awaited Phrenology was released in late November 2002 amid rumors of the Roots losing interest in their label arrangements with MCA. In 2004, the band remedied the situation by creating the Okayplayer company. Named after their website, Okayplayer included a record label and a production/promotion company. The same year, the band held a series of jam sessions to give their next album a looser feel. The results were edited down to ten tracks and released as The Tipping Point in July of 2004. A 2004 concert from Manhattan’s Webster Hall with special guests like Mobb Deep, Young Gunz, and Jean Grae was released in early 2005 as The Roots Present in both CD and DVD formats. Two volumes of the rarities-collecting Home Grown! The Beginner’s Guide to Understanding the Roots appeared at the end of the year.

A subsequent deal with Def Jam fostered a series of riveting, often grim sets, beginning with Game Theory (August 2006) and Rising Down (April 2008). In 2009, the group expanded its reach as the exceptionally versatile house band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. The new gig didn’t slow their recording schedule; in 2010 alone, they released the sharp How I Got Over (June), as well as Wake Up! (September), where they backed John Legend on covers of socially relevant soul classics like Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes’ “Wake Up Everybody” and Donny Hathaway’s “Little Ghetto Boy.” The next year, as they remained with Fallon, the Roots worked with Miami soul legend Betty Wright on November’s Betty Wright: The Movie, and followed it weeks later with their 13th studio album, Undun.

Releases

All Releases

The Roots

...and then you shoot your cousin.

The new album from The Roots’, available everywhere now.

Buy It Now

The Roots

Undun

Undun is the twelfth studio album by The Roots. Recording sessions for the album took place at several recording locations in Philadelphia and New York City. Production was handled primarily by Questlove, record producer and drummer for the band. Undun incorporates neo soul and indie music elements. It is an existential concept album about the short, tragic life of fictional character Redford Stevens, set in urban poverty,…

The Roots

How I Got Over

Jon Pareles, writing for The New York Times, called the album “a serious deliberation on perseverance: a message for an era of recession”, stating “Even in its boasts, How I Got Over is selfless: an album of doubts, parables and pep talks”.James Shahan of URBfound it “dark and tragic in places, but also enlightening and empowering”.Matthew Fiander of PopMatters called it…

Buy It Now

The Roots

Rising Down

According to the band’s producer Questlove, Rising Down “is an electric record, more synthy. The darks are darker and the lights are lighter. But all I know is making quality hip-hop stylistically. We tried to do something we never did before. Kamal had to be the sacrificial lamb this time. The one instrument that has defined the Roots…

Buy It Now

The Roots

Game Theory

Game Theory received universal acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 83, based on 26 reviews. Allmusic’s Andy Kellman praised its musical quality and lyrical themes, writing “Spinning turbulence, paranoia, anger, and pain into some of…

Buy It Now

The Roots

The Tipping Point

The Roots: The Tipping Point [Explicit Content - Parental Advisory]

The Roots

Phrenology

The Roots newest album: Phrenology [Explicit Content - Parental Advisory]

The Roots

Things Fall Apart

The Roots: Things Fall Apart [Explicit Content - Parental Advisory]

The Roots

Illadelph Halflife

The Roots present: Illadelph Halflife [Explicit Content - Parental Advisory]

The Roots

Do You Want More?!!!??!

The Roots: Do You Want More?!!!??! [Explicit Content - Parental Advisory]

The Roots

Organix

Organix is the debut album of American hip hop band The Roots, released May 19, 1993 by the band, independently. It was originally sold at the band’s shows in Europe. The album earned enough industry buzz to earn The Roots offers from major record labels

GAMETHEOR30
Def Jam 30

SINCE 1984: The Roots Released, "Game Theory" On Def Jam Recordings

  On this day, August 29, 2006, The Roots released their seventh album, “Game Theory” on Def Jam Recordings.

  • 0
  • 0
a_560x375
News

Questlove Pays Tribute To Richard Nichols

In case you didn’t know, Richard Nichols, The Root’s longtime manager passed away last week. Today, Questlove took to Vulture to pay tribute to his longtime friend. Below is an excerpt from the article. How can you make any sense of a life ending? Richard Nichols, who managed the Roots since the beginning, since before…

  • 0
  • 0
richard nichols
News

Rest in Peace Richard Nichols of The Roots

The Roots Family are devastated to announce the passing of Richard Nichols, the band’s longtime manager, after a long battle with leukemia. Nichols, 55, a Philadelphia native, managed the band from it’s inception in 1992, and was instrumental in every aspect of The Roots’ creative, cultural, and professional life over the past two decades. Nichols…

  • 0
  • 0
Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 11.06.41 AM
Def Jam 30

Since 1984: The Roots Released Their Ninth Album, "How I Got Over" On Def Jam Recordings

On this day, June, 22, 2010, The Roots released their ninth album, “How I Got Over” on Def Jam Recordings!  

  • 0
  • 0
Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 12.22.15 PM
Music Video

The Roots - "Never" Ft. Patty Crash

The Roots are back again but this time with a brand new music video for their track, “Never” featuring Patty Crash. Take a look at the new visual above. The Roots “…and then you shoot your cousin” Available Everywhere Now! iTunes: http://smarturl.it/iATYSYC Amazon: http://georiot.co/aATYSYC Google Play: http://smarturl.it/gATYSYC

  • 0
  • 0
10369479_546452905463347_1625606852_n
News

August Alsina Performs At The 2014 Summer Jam Festival Stage

One of the performers on the Festival Stage prior to the show was August Alsina. He went through a bunch of his track from his debut album, “Testimony” and much more. In case you missed it, check out the set above. August Alsina “Testimony” Available Everywhere Now!

  • 0
  • 0
THE-ROOTS_ATYSYC_ITUNES_CVR_PA
News

New Music: The Roots "The Dark (Trinity)"

The Root’s 11th stuido album is in stores this week and today we give you one of the tracks from the project titled, “The Dark (Trinity)”. Take a listen below. The Roots “…and then you shoot your cousin” Available Everywhere Now! iTunes: http://smarturl.it/iATYSYC Amazon: http://georiot.co/aATYSYC Google Play: http://smarturl.it/gATYSYC

  • 0
  • 0
Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 10.53.54 AM
News

The Roots Perform On The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon

To celebrate the release of their brand new album, The Roots were the special guest performers of the night reciting “Never” with help from A-Trak and Metropolis Ensemble. In case you missed the performance, check it out above. The Roots “…and then you shoot your cousin” Available Everywhere Now! iTunes: http://smarturl.it/iATYSYC Amazon: http://georiot.co/aATYSYC Google Play: http://smarturl.it/gATYSYC

  • 0
  • 0
Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 12.42.37 PM
News

The Roots Interview With The Breakfast Club

The Roots new album, …and then you shoot your cousin is finally in stores and this morning Black Thought and Questlove stopped by Power 105 to chop it up with The Breakfast Club. Check out the interview above. The Roots “…and then you shoot your cousin” Available Everywhere Now! iTunes: http://smarturl.it/iATYSYC Amazon: http://georiot.co/aATYSYC Google Play: http://smarturl.it/gATYSYC

  • 0
  • 0
Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 12.16.36 PM
News

The Roots Perform "...and then you shoot your cousin" At The Public Theater In NYC

Last week, The Roots headed to The Public Theater in NYC for a for a theatrical presentation of their new album “…and then you shoot your cousin”. Up top, you can see a recap of the event. Photos by Lev Avery-Peck The Roots “…and then you shoot your cousin” Available Everywhere Now! iTunes: http://smarturl.it/iATYSYC Amazon: http://georiot.co/aATYSYC Google…

  • 0
  • 0
THE-ROOTS_ATYSYC_ITUNES_CVR_PA
News

The Roots "...and then you shoot your cousin" Available Everywhere Now!

The Roots brand new album, “…and then you shoot your cousin” is available everywhere now! iTunes: http://smarturl.it/iATYSYC Amazon: http://georiot.co/aATYSYC Google Play: http://smarturl.it/gATYSYC  

  • 0
  • 0
understand the roots
Music Video

New Video: The Roots - "Understand" Featuring Dice Raw & Greg Porn

Watch The Roots’ new video for “Understand” featuring Dice Raw and Greg Porn off the new album “…and then you shoot your cousin” available May 19th! Creator: Joe Baughman (josephbaughman.com) Assistant Director: Andrew DeSelm Assistant Animator/Gaffer: Jason North Assistant Animator: Matthew Erdel Special Thanks: Dave Vermillion, Kendra of Window Wonderland (stained glass), Tim S. Johnson,…

  • 0
  • 0
Understand
News

New Music: The Roots "Understand"

The Roots new album, …and then you shoot your cousin is available next Tuesday, but before that listen to their new track, “Understand” off the project below. Click here to pre-order “…and then you shoot your cousin” on iTunes

  • 0
  • 0
10349686_535495536558818_1269076340_n
News

The Roots Perform At The Public Theater In NYC

The Roots came out to The Public theater in NYC this week to perform their new album live. XXL was in attendance and wrote a review from the night. Check out the excerpt below. The band’s 11th album, …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin is their second concept album in a row after 2011′s undun, and they…

  • 0
  • 0
THE-ROOTS_ATYSYC_ITUNES_CVR_PA
News

Stream The Roots "...and then you shoot your cousin" Album

The Roots will be dropping their new album, “…and then you shoot your cousin” on Tuesday, but today Pitchfork is letting the fans listen a little early. Click here to stream the full album. Click here to pre-order “…and then you shoot your cousin” on iTunes

  • 0
  • 0
THE-ROOTS_ATYSYC_ITUNES_CVR_PA
News

Pre-Order The Roots, "...and then you shoot your cousin" Now On iTunes

The Root’s upcoming album, “…and then you shoot your cousin” is now available for pre-order on iTunes! Click here to pre-order “…and then you shoot your cousin” on iTunes

  • 0
  • 0
Roots-WTP-Cheer-still5
Music Video

The Roots - "When The People Cheer (Lyric Video)"

The Roots’ new album is almost here and today, they drop a brand new lyric video for their track, “When The People Cheer”. Watch the video above and let us know what you think below in the comment section. The Roots “…and then you shoot your cousin” Available Everywhere May 19th!

  • 0
  • 0
THE-ROOTS_ATYSYC_ITUNES_CVR_PA
News

New Music: The Roots "Tomorrow" Ft. Raheem Devaughn

This past weekend, The Roots dropped a brand new track from their upcoming album, …and then you shoot your cousin which is titled, “Tomorrow” featuring Raheem Devaughn. Take a listen to the track below and let us know what you think! The Roots “…and then you shoot your cousin” Available Everywhere May 19th!

  • 0
  • 0
THE-ROOTS_ATYSYC_ITUNES_CVR_PA
News

The Roots “…and then you shoot your cousin” Tracklisting

The Roots upcoming album, “…and then you shoot your cousin” will be hitting stores on May 19th! Below, is the tracklisting for the project. 1. Theme From The Middle Of The Night 2. Never 3. When The People Cheer 4. The Devil… 5. Black Rock 6. Understand 7. Dies Irae 8. The Coming 9. The…

  • 0
  • 0
a_610x408
News

Vulture Interviews Questlove

Questlove recently sat down with Vulture to speak on the state of Hip-Hip. Below is an excerpt from the article. There are three famous quotes that haunt me and guide me though my days. The first is from John Bradford, the 16th-century English reformer. In prison for inciting a mob, Bradford saw a parade of…

  • 0
  • 0
Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 2.08.00 PM
News

The Roots "...and then you shoot your cousin" Album Cover

Check out the official artwork for The Roots upcoming album, “…and then you shoot your cousin”. Romare Bearden (1911-1988); Pittsburgh Memory, 1964;  mixed media collage on board; 8 1/2″ x 11 3/4″, signed Collection of halley k harrisburg and Michael Rosenfeld, New York, NY; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY Art © Romare Bearden…

  • 0
  • 0
Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 2.16.23 PM
News

Pre-Order Packages Now Available For The Roots New Album!

Pre-order packages now available for The Roots upcoming album “…and then you shoot your cousin”. CD or Vinyl Bundle with Signed Poster. Click here to order yours.

  • 0
  • 0
THE ROOTS_WhenThePeopleCHeer_SINGLE_PA
News

New Music: The Roots "When The People Cheer" Ft. Modesty Lycan

The Roots are back with some new music today. Below, you can listen to their new track titled, “When The People Cheer” off the new album, And Then You Shoot Your Cousin coming soon!  

  • 0
  • 0
7th-roots-picnic
News

Roots Picnic 2014 Lineup

The Roots are back this year with a brand new lineup for Roots Picnic 2014. Some of the artists include Jhene Aiko, Just Blaze, Snoop Dogg and many more! Check out Questlove revealing the artists above.

  • 0
  • 0
Rising Fast
Highest Change Rate This Hour

Def Trends

See Who's Trending Right Now
Trending this hour on All / Twitter / YouTube / Instagram / Facebook
< Back to Artists
What is Def Trends?
X

What is Def Trends?

Def Trends shows which of our artists are generating the most activity on the web right now.

The points next to each artist represent a comment, post, tweet, etc. As those comments get older, they are worth less. A comment posted right now would be worth 1 point, but over time it loses it's value.

Don't see your favorite artist on Def Trends? Start talking about them!

1 comments
Sandy Levy
Sandy Levy

What is not to LOVE about The Roots? Black Thought is insightful, "thought"-ful and mercurial in his rhymes. ?love's beats are the foundation to the groove that is felt in each and every joint/jawn.  Whether ?love's beats lay under the incredible bass lines of Hub, Owen or Mark, or behind the amazing guitar licks and shreds of Captain Kirk, THIS BAND WORKS! Throw in a TUBA. additional beats from Knuckles and soulful key work from Kamal, and what your ears enjoy is quickly transported to your head bobbing, shoulders swaying, and your hips shaking. The Roots connect on every level. If you want INTELLIGENT songs, THEY GOT EM. IF you dig on romance, THEY FEEL  YOU. If you want some thumping, feel good, happy tunage- POP THEM IN. If you want MEANINGFUL, SOCIALLY MOVING, and TIMELY-throw- your- fist-up- shiznet, THEY WON'T FAIL YOU. You want an added bonus? There is continuous thread of  jazz-like melodic deconstruction in their one of kind hip hop style, that makes them unique in a world of corporate manufactured music. God bless this hard working, revolutionary, KICK ASS band. If you haven't seen them LIVE, you should. YOU WON'T be disappointed, in fact- your life will be changed.