The Roots performed in concert on Friday (February 28) at House of Blues in West Hollywood, California. Check out pictures from WireImage.com.
Launch.com caught up with The Roots’ ?uestlove following the group’s performance at the Grammy Awards along with Eminem. “We just wanted to keep it simple, you know?” ?uestlove said of the ‘Lose Yourself’ performance. “I think people were pretty much expecting Eminem to do like a lot of fireworks, or try and top the 100 clones following him in and, you know, all the hoopla and whatever. He just wanted to do something simple, something short, something sweet, and also we wanted to pay tribute to Jason Mizell the deceased DJ of Run-DMC we just wanted to keep it simple.”
In the tradition of his duet with Elton John at last year’s Grammys, Eminem has enlisted Philadelphia hip-hop group the Roots to back him up during his live performance of ‘Lose Yourself’ at this year’s awards ceremony, happening Sunday.
MuchMusic caught up with the Root’s outspoken drummer, ?uestlove, before they hit the stage at Toronto’s Kool Haus to talk about the impact of the Supreme Court appointed Bush administration on hip hop. “This whole so-called democratic process is nothing,” he said of Bush’s election. “That was a coup. A coup d’etat.” Still, his outlook was not entirely bleak. “Black music sees its best moments when Republicans are in office. Reaganomics gave birth to hip hop, definitely, the crack period.”
Rap acts on late night television this week include the Roots who appear on the Late Show with David Letterman on Tuesday, while Busta Rhymes appears on the Jon Stewart Show on Wednesday.
While “daring” is the adjective that often gets propped up next to the Roots’ name, the way ?uestlove sees it, his band never considered their latest album ‘Phrenology’ a risk. “With us, the live show presentation and the recorded presentation have always been different animals,” he tells Brian McCollum of the Detroit Free Press. “There have been some nights in which, if the right audience was in attendance, we’d do all jazz versions of our songs, or all hard rock versions. If anything, we thought it was time we transferred some of the energy of our live show to wax.”
It’s tempting to call the Roots latest album ‘Phrenology’ a departure record, but a departure from what? “My blueprint is always going to be Prince, circa 1980 to 1988,” Roots drummer ?uestlove explains to Matt Galloway of Now Toronto. “He’s pretty much the last figure in black music who can really get some good, impassioned remarks from music lovers — not hiphop fans — for each of his records. I was there when 12 of us decided to sneak out during lunch period to get Around The World In A Day, and all the newbie Purple Rain fans were totally thrown off. Those are the things I remember. I always said that if I had a career, I wanted people to buy each of my records and totally be taken aback. I just don’t want to sound typical. I’d rather be horrible than mediocre.” The full story at nowtoronto.com has since been removed.
The whole “conscious hip-hop” brand chafes the Roots at times. “I really hate putting the Roots on the level that people think that they are supposed to be the ‘smart rap group,’ or the ‘pretentious rap group,'” ?uest tells Lynell George of the Los Angeles Times. “Shift is the most important element, I feel, to the Roots. And that’s what I want people to start understanding. I know we are all things to all people.” The full story at northjersey.com has since been removed.
Nekesa Mumbi Moody of the Canadian Press spoke with the Roots about their latest album ‘Phrenology’, as well as their decision to play backup to Jay-Z, which raised some eyebrows in the hip hop world. “We are not elitist,” explains ?uestlove. “Some people were shocked, like, ‘Ooh, I never thought you’d associate with a rapper like Jay-Z.’ But if you look deep under the surface, regardless of his subject matter or not, to me, he’s an on-point lyricist. I like him as an emcee, and thus, I wouldn’t mind working with him.”
Dean Kuipers of the Los Angeles Times reviewed the 10th annual Holiday Cooldown show for the Beat (100.3 FM) at the Universal Amphitheatre the other night. Kuipers says The Roots were the performance of the night, amongst the impressive list of sets by Raphael Saadiq, Slum Village, Jurassic 5, and Gang Starr.