I first interviewed the legendary ROOTS crew on their CD release promotion through GEFFEN records in 1995 as the label provided ClubbinTV unlimited access to the band. My camera guy at the time was Kevin, “KAZ” Matthews and the show was literally a one camera, guerilla style recording. We would just walk into our interview opportunities with the camera rolling. Sometimes even with a lighting kit!
The ROOTS CREW was my first opportunity to hear a full out band playing hip-hop with an introduction to one of the greatest MC’s I had ever scene rap live, “BLACK THOUGHT”. Furthermore the unique drum stylings of QUESTLOVE provided the backbone and foundation of this group that still exists today.
Our first interview with the ROOTS crew came on their tour bus as they arrived in Chicago for a live event at the Double Door in 1995. We were allowed to enter the tour bus and interview the Roots crew then consisting of Black Thought, Questlove, Kamal, Scott Storch, and Malik B.
I had received the vinyl album, “ Do You Want More”, from the Geffen Rep earlier that week. That album began the maturation of DJ FINK’s ear to what real hip-hop music should sound like.
FYI, THE LOSS OF VINYL TO THE DJ HAS BECOME ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF HIP HOP AND R&B MUSIC.
THAT ISSUE IS FOR ANOTHER BLOG….LET’S GET BACK TO THE ROOTS.
“THE DO YOU WANT MORE VINYL ALBUM” had one of the greatest love stories ever told in the song, “Silent Treatment”. The band and Black Thought led, interaction song, “Essaywhuman” and “Lazy Afternoon” provided more bangers on the Album. Finally one of the sexiest hard-core poems I have ever heard entitled, “The Unlocking” ended the Album leaving the consumer with a WOW look on their face.
While doing the interview in the Band’s touring RV the Roots crew were playing mortal combat on Nintendo. Me being the trash talker that I am bet Black Thought that I could kick his behind in Mortal Combat. Not only did Black Thought whip my buttocks, he also freestyled to Whodini’s, “Magic Wand” while unleashing that whipping.
The interview went very well and the Roots rocked the Double Door venue in Chicago. As a matter of fact the interview went so well that the group invited us to follow them to Atlanta, their next stop during the Freak-Nik.
My camera guy and I called in sick for work the next day and followed the Roots to Atlanta.
The Roots were playing at Club 559 a day later.
As we arrived at Club 559 in Atlanta for the Roots sound-check we were introduced to a couple of new members that we did not meet in Chicago, Rahzel and Dice Raw. We walked into RAHZEL beat-boxing. I thought there was a DJ or that Questlove was playing the drums. THAT”S HOW REAL RAHZEL SOUNDED. One of the greatest things to see live was Questlove battle Rahzel beat for beat and sound for sound. The whole show at club 559 was ridiculous.
We interviewed the Roots several more times after that and even developed a friendship with the band so much so that when we would see them Black Thought and Questlove would crack jokes about my weight and other things. Of course I would crack jokes back and let them know that I was just big boned.
It is great to see the ROOTS on the Jimmy Fallon show. The Roots are Americas band. I was a huge Conan Obrien follower. When he left NBC I switched to TBS until I realized that the ROOTS were the band on Jimmy Fallon. Many in our generation and music enthusiasts have done the same thing.
Whoever made that decision to hire the ROOTS saved the late night television musical arrangement schematic. The Roots make the show hipper and you may hear outros to the commercial break feature an instrumental of 2PAC’s, “Ambitionz Az a Ridah”. WHAT OTHER LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW WILL PLAY THAT?
Also, Jimmy Fallon deciding to use the ROOTS in skits including, “Slow Jamming the News”, is genius.
The other talk shows have now tried to copy the Roots/Fallon make-up by having other artists and other band members sit in with them to provide a smoother hipper feel.
There are and have been many great late night bands. Paul Schaffer and his band on David Letterman are still on of the best.
The Roots have become the reason to tune into Jimmy Fallon for this simple fact; many of the performers leave their bands at home and use the Roots.
Without skipping a beat or a melody, the Roots enhance the original song that the artist was going to perform.
THE ROOTS ARE ONE OF AMERICA’S GREATEST BANDS. Their music I.Q is unmatched regardless of genre.
Thus leaving this writer with hope that one-day we can, “Get Back To Real Music”. ☺