John Mayer Tries Hip-Hop With Help From Roots’ ?uestlove

John Mayer spoke with MTV News about one special guest from the hip-hop community on his upcoming album ‘Heavier Things’. The Roots’ Ahmir ‘?uestlove’ Thompson plays drums on the opening number, ‘Clarity.’ “It was really fun for me because I think he kind of came like, ‘All right, who’s the white boy who sings the song about making love to the girl? What’s this all going to be about?'” Mayer recalled. “And I think when he heard it he was like, ‘OK, I’m kind of interested in this, I kind of like where this is going.’ And so it really turned into this kind of a hip-hop tune that breaks into an acoustic song in the middle. And his playing on it was just the jump up-and-down factor in the control room. When he plays it’s just, it’s serious.” Read more.

Ben Kenney Uprooted

Eve Simonsen of the Philadelphia City Paper spoke with Ben Kenney who recently left the Roots to replace Incubus bassist Dirk Lance. Kenney says Tariq Trotter, a.k.a. Black Thought, was fully supportive of his move. “[He said,] ‘Do your thing. You wanna go play rock, go’. The Roots realize they are a foundation. They understand that if it weren’t for them, a lot of sh** wouldn’t happen.” Now that he’s jumped from hip hop to rock, Kenney says he does miss his days with the Roots. “It’s that grass-is-always-greener thing,” he admits. “Turning around and playing rock, I miss things about hip-hop. If I’m playing bass, I miss playing guitar.”

Hip-Hop Unity Concert Photos

Common, Fab 5 Freddy, Rosario Dawson, and The Roots were on hand at the Hip-Hop Theater Festival’s First Hip-Hop Unity Concert on Monday (June 9) at the Apollo Theater in New York City. Check out pictures from WireImage.

The Roots Dig Deep For Variety At Avalon

Linda Laban of the Boston Herald reviewed the Roots concert at Avalon on May 2nd. She writes, “The Roots displayed a repertoire and vision that recalled great pan-cultural, musically and racially boundless artists such as Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, Parliament, Bad Brains and Run DMC.”

?uestlove Says The Roots Are Hip Hop’s Sonic Youth

Renee Graham of the Boston Globe spoke with the Roots drummer Ahmir ‘?uestlove’ Thompson before the group’s performance tonight at the Avalon. ?uestlove says they have stayed true to themselves and the music’s soul while stretching the game out and etching their name as hip-hop savants and saviors. “I like to think we’re the hip-hop Sonic Youth,” he said. “They were tastemakers, were well respected by critics, and played this Moses role in bringing attention to bands like Nirvana and Mudhoney. They were largely responsible for the grunge sound getting developed in the early 1990s. They won’t necessarily get to the promised land, but they’ve led a billion people there. I sort of see that as our role.”

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.”

The Roots, Freeway & Beanie Sigel On Talk TV

Rap acts on talk television this week include the Roots on the Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn on Monday, while Freeway & Beanie Sigel perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Friday.

?uestlove’s Narcotic Is Record Shopping

?uestlove tells the New York Post that he is a total addict – but not to drugs. “I understand how musicians get caught up in drugs: The three hours on stage is exciting; it’s the other 21 hours that are the hard ones,” the Roots drummer said. “My narcotic is record shopping. If you take that away from me, there’s a problem.”

Written Prisms Take Hip-Hop To Another Level

Contributed by AdamBernard:

In a recent interview with, Written Prisms spoke about their innovative take on Hip-Hop. With two MC’s and a four man live band, they consider themselves “G-Love and the Special Sauce meets The Roots, meets Phish.” Read more.