7 Reasons Why The Roots are Truly Legendary
A music review- Oakland June 9th, 2008-
“Oakland’s Paramount Theatre is one of the finest remaining examples of Art Deco design in the United States. Designed by renowned San Francisco architect Timothy L. Pflueger and completed in late 1931, it was one of the first Depression-era buildings to incorporate and integrate the work of numerous creative artists into its architecture and is particularly noteworthy for its successful orchestration of the various artistic disciplines into an original and harmonious whole. “…- Official Website
I arrived at the Paramount on time at 7:30pm to receive my wristband for all access. Shouts out to my inside connect, and NO- I’ll never tell.The Roots were already on stage as the beautiful mix of Bay Area Hiphoppas and Soul children made their way to their seats. It was a wonderful site outside to see folks coming out to support. I’m sure this night was sold out, even though you could still get a ticket if you went to either 19th and Broadway, or 20th in Broadway. (FYI across the street is where Tupac got beat up by the cops years back- just thought I’d throw that in)
After weaving thru the drink line in the front lobby, I opted not to sit on the floor, and went to get a birds eye view of the Legendary Roots Crew. I’ve always liked to sit in the balcony because I like to observe how the music hits the people, and that’s exactly what The Roots did. From doing a medley of songs from “Do You Want More?” to songs from the “Things Fall Apart” album, The Roots once again prove why they are the best band in music- Not just in Hip Hop circles. They can stand with, and possibly outshine, any band now with their flawless breaks, changes, chords, improvisation, and chemistry. Okay (player)- that’s the set up, now here’s the reason why this review is called- 7 Reasons Why The Roots are Truly Legendary.
1)- Black Thought– If he’s not on your top 10 list of greatest emcees of all time, then you should slap yourself twice and think again. Breath control, stamina, styles, and the ability to remix his lyrics to create new sounds within their set is truly amazing. And to top it all off, doing “Men At Work” by Kool G Rap, better than the original, at the end of the show, sped up even faster than the original is like that Visa commercial-Priceless. Backstage, Black Thought was as cool as ever, approachable, and even had something positive to say about someone on a whole other end of his musical spectrum, Lil Wayne.
Tariq says, “Lil Wayne has a good work ethic, and folks should look at him from that perspective. ”
People need to really take a look at Black Thought’s work ethic, especially live on stage. He’s light years ahead of most emcees.
2)- Questlove- Our modern day Max Roach. Timekeeper, arranger, and now we should include singer, as Quest croons on Rising Upfeat. Wale and Chrisete Michelle. Questlove stands on a platform of his own because of his amazing ability to transform live instrumentation into serious BOOM BAP. It’s a site to see the spontaneity in his form, the bang in his kick, and his history making ability to keep everyone in sync. And as a side note, if you haven’t picked up Lay It Down, the newest album by Al Green, produced by Questlove, then you are missing out.
3)- Kamal Gray– Our I should call him “The Steady Hand. ” Kamal, who is also one of the original members still holding it down on the keys, could be described and the person who keeps the harmony. With all the musical controlled chaos happening, Kamal’s chords, moods, and sounds coming from all his keyboards is the backbone of the soul you hear in The Roots repertoire. When they did “Hip Hop- You The Love of My Life” the chords at the beginning were butter smooth and permeated throughout the walls of the Paramount.
4)- F. Knuckles- If Quest is the BOOM, F Knuckles is the BAP. If you’ve ever been to a Go-Go in DC, you know that percussions are important. Since The Roots have added this new blend of drums to their camp and set, it gives the music a new layer of sounds that touches the African-ness of Hip Hop. Anyone who would dare to keep up with Quest, and F Knuckles does it with no problem, must be the next wave of Legendary.
5)- Captain Kirk Douglas- Also should be called “The Show Stealer” because that’s what he did at The Paramount with his rendition of “You Got Me. ” You almost forget that Erykah was backstage, and was originally on this song. Not only was the singing on point, dude on guitar is like the Jimi Hendrix/George Bensen of our time. I literally saw the crowd jump to their feet in applause after his solo, and I personally got goose bumps from the guitar licks he displayed on stage. The best part of the show by far.
6)- Owen Biddle and Tuba Gooding Jr. – The new editions to The Roots do not disappoint. Owen has the bass player, cool and quiet swagger, while holding down all the never-ending changes in the music. There will only be one “Hub,” but Own is a solid replacement. Tuba Gooding Jr. plays the Tuba like an emcee rhymes, and the boom in the Tuba is a good look for a Hip Hop landscape.
7)- My last reason why The Roots are truly Legendary is because they are our Hip Hop champions. They received a standing ovation at The Paramount. The reason- people over 30 (who could afford those high ass tickets) still over and appreciate Hip Hop. In a world where adults are acting like children in the music, and everything seems to be youth music, The Roots came with it. It’s nights like this that can restore your faith in this fickle music world. More importantly, after having a chance to vibe with the whole crew afterwards, they are good people. No airs. Good vibes all the way thru. I didn’t stay to see Erykah. 3 quick reasons- I wasn’t on a date, I get caught up in the green eyes, and I saw her show this year already, but the word is out that she ripped it too. Out
Peep the Breakdown FM Interview w/ Questlove: