Roots Have Scholarly Attention To Hip Hop History

Rafer Guzman of Newsday reviewed the Roots concert Friday at Roseland. Guzman writes, “A hallmark of the Roots is their almost scholarly attention to the history of hip-hop and black music in general. This is precisely why many fans love the band, but it’s also why the Roots have never cracked the commercial market. Their songs sometimes sound dissertational, as if the members were cloistered away in an ebony tower of their own making. On Friday, however, the band seemed eager to connect with the real world, turning in a powerful version of ‘Water,’ inspired by the drug problems of former Roots rapper Malik Abdul-Basit.”

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