Sunday, February 28, 2010

Roots-What They Do

Grilled Cheese Johnson breaks his strike on posting on our little blog (after we vetoed a jamandaquarter) and returns to bring the heat. The Roots join Outkast and Manu Chao as the only artists with two posts. They do so with a real jamandahalf, "What They Do."

As I sit here at my desk, bored to tears by the Supreme Court opinion I am currently reading, I contemplate burning all my textbooks, saying goodbye to my friends and family, and moving to the forest to live in a cave.  It’s Friday night and my spring break has just begun. Yet instead of celebrating at a local bar with my brethren, I have my face buried in a book.  It’s enough to drive a young man to tears.  Just as I am ready to throw my laptop out of my 10th story window and follow it head-first, something magical happens.  The shuffle feature on my itunes throws on a legendary jam and a half, and all my anger and frustration melts away like butter.  A wave of calm washes over me, as if I had just finished my 10th Guinness on a sunny July afternoon in San Diego.  All must be right in the world, I think, because at some point in time, some people got together and made this song.

That song, ladies and gentlemen, is none other than “Bad Romance” by the legendary Lady Ga—I’m sorry, what blog is this? “Jam-and-a-half?”  I thought this was “Terrible-pop-hits-that-are-ruining-our-society?” No? Well then…

That song, ladies and gentlemen, is none other than “What They Do” by the legendary Roots.  The Roots are one of hip-hop’s most prolific, longest-running acts, with eight studio albums to their name and a ninth on the way.  Formed in Philadelphia in the late 80s, The Roots are one of hip-hop’s few live bands, boasting drums, guitars, bass, and a plethora of other instruments to create their organic sound.  Their lead MC, born as Tariq Potter but known as Black Thought, is one of the greatest of all time.  Combine his skills on the mic with the band’s signature sound and you have a foolproof equation for some good ass music.  This is none more apparent than during one of their legendary live performances, which resembles more of an all-out rock & roll jam session than it does a hip hop show.  If The Roots are in your area, I advise you to pay the price on the ticket and go see them at all costs; you will not be disappointed.

This particular jam is off their 3rd studio album, Illadelph Halflife (1996), and features Black Thought dropping knowledge about his love of the art and its continued demise at the hands of the industry.  The lyrics are complimented by a creamy mayonnaise of guitar strings and keyboard riffs designed to stimulate your ear drums.  After “blessing the track lushly” with his rhymes for 4 and a half minutes, Black Thought yields to the power of the band. The guitar and bass line take the song out for the final 90 seconds, leaving music fans of all genres satisfied.  I recommend this track to all those looking to unwind during stressful times, or when just cold kickin it like your name was Moose Halpern.  You can’t go wrong.

But don’t stop there!  I urge you to check out all of their music, as they truly are one of the most talented acts of the past two decades.  After listening to Illadelph Halflife, purchase 1998’s Things Fall Apart for another sampling of their Grammy-winning sound.  Then move on to 2004’s The Tipping Point for something slightly different but equally dope.  I’ve included bonus jams from each of these albums as a nice holiday treat. Now I know what you’re thinking—“it’s not a holiday!”—but enjoy nonetheless.  May the following tracks bring joy to all readers around the globe.  Peace

Bonus Jam:  Star (from The Tipping Point)

Bonus Jam #2: You Got Me (Featuring Erykah Badu & Eve) (from Things Fall Apart)

1 comment:

  1. Love this song. One of my most played of all time.

    -S Mitch


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