The Roots have been going since way back in ’93. Their first album, ‘Organix’, showed the Roots bringing an almost revolutionary style to the table. Their instrumental, ‘organic’ style is hardly comparable to any other hip hop group out their. For a start, they’re more of a band than a group. They have a real, live band, playing instruments by themselves (for all you fake hip hoppers out there, don’t try this at home) and even have members that can make the sound effects and are vocal turntablists. After ‘Organix’ came ‘Do You Want More’, ‘Illadelph Halflife’ and ‘Things Fall Apart’, three albums which all feature the talents of this group that expresses the true essence of hip hop, particularly dissin’ the ‘contractual’ way in which the rap game is going in ‘What They Do’. Black Thought, the main emcee in The Roots, has always dropped lyrics worthy of praise, and Malik B, although not particularly partial to touring with the group, is more than able to match Thought’s mic controlling abilities. As such, we are presented with a band that can make you really get into their music, presenting a message in any of their tracks. 1993 – Whilst not exactly the most exciting cover, The Roots’ first album showed that they were different.
1994 – ‘Do you want more?!!!??!’ kept with the flow of Organix, staying true to their Jazz influences.
So I’ve talked about their other albums, but when am I gonna get onto their latest one? Well, in theory I have actually talked about their latest album by describing their older ones. ‘Come Alive’ is a compilation of some of the track from their older albums (with a couple new ones for good measure) but simply recorded live, put onto an album and sold in stores. So it may sound like a money making scheme to anyone who is not familiar with The Roots. However, anyone that knows more than the average person about The Roots will know that they excel when it comes to live performances. Being able to actually hear how they sound live through an album is essentially a gift to any true fans of their’s out there. I personally am a huge fan of The Roots, but have never been able to get out there and see a show. This album gives me a sense of what I’m missing though, and just makes me wanna go see them even more than before. Some of the classic tracks such as ‘Mellow My Man’, ‘Proceed’, the more well known ‘You Got Me’, and maybe their most famous skit within Roots fans, ‘Essaywhuman?!!’ feature on the album, but the live performance of these tracks gives you a better sense of what The Roots are all about. There are three new tracks they did in the studio, ‘What You Want’, ‘We Got You’ and ‘The Lesson – Part III’. All damn good tracks, keeping in line with the general Roots vibe. 1996 – ‘Illadelph Halflife’ showed that The Roots could also drop some more funky tracks down.
1999 – ‘Things Fall Apart’ once again showed that The Roots can do soft and hard jazz hip hop.
So what can I say about the album as a whole then? Well, if you’re a Roots fan and have missed out on their performances before, definitely buy the album, you won’t regret it. For anyone who has heard The Roots before and liked their stuff, but didn’t ever experience their other albums, buy this one. You’ll get an overlook of some of the old tracks, and a picture of which direction their headed more recently. For anyone who hasn’t heard The Roots before, shame on you!!! But go and buy this album anyway. It’s probably the best way to introduce yourself to them, as this is where they do their best work – live and real. The Roots family covers many artists (such as Common, Mos Def and Jill Scott) who frequently feature on many tracks in their albums. This album in particular is one that you definetely can’t miss! The Roots have always represented when it comes to live shows. Any Roots fan will know this, and will have either been to one, or will be trying to get to one right now!
1999 – The Roots finally bring their fans what we want. A live album with tracks from the old ones. It’s an experience that you can now feel in your own bedroom (or wherever you listen to music) thanks to this nice compilation of the Roots classics.
Reviewed By Hip Hop Network for HipHopHotSpot.Com