Top 10: The Roots
The legendary Roots crew just released their 13th studio album, the beautifully sad Undun. Hopefully you’ll be reading more of my thoughts on this record in the next 24-48 hours, but until then, I thought I would take the opportunity to share 10 of my favorite tracks by my favorite band.
Of course, sifting through a catalog as eclectic, unique and as totally brilliant as The Roots’ is a tough task to tackle at 3:30 in the morning (insomnia is real, friends.) Hip-Hop’s journey with Hip-Hop’s greatest band started way back in 1993, and they’ve been making incredible music ever since. They’ve performed alongside many of the elite figures in contemporary black music (Esperanza Spalding, Jay-Z, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, and so on and so forth.)
I bought my first Roots record right before my junior year in high school back in 2005. At the time, I spent a large amount of what little money I had on pizza and music, which isn’t all that different from how I spend my money today. To be honest, I was in FYE to buy Kanye West’s Late Registration, but Tipping Point (released the previous summer) caught my eye on the shelves too. I was on a real conscious music kick at the time; after years of playing stuff like Ready To Die and Reasonable Doubt until the lyrics were burned in my brain, I fell in love with Black Star, Little Brother and De La. I had a few songs by the Roots in my collection, and the cover, which featured a young Malcolm X in one of his old “Detroit Red” outfits (an image replaced by one of Black Thought on later pressings), caught my eye.
The Tipping Point is probably the Roots’ worst reviewed record this side of Organix, but I listened to it like crazy at the time, and it still holds a special place to me. That “Star/Pointro” joint is still one of my favorite intros on any Hip-Hop album. From there, I became a huge fan, and I’m proud to say that the saga continues.
“Mellow My Man” – Do You Want More?!!!??! – 1995
“Walk Alone” – How I Got Over – 2010
“You Got Me” – Things Fall Apart – 1999
“Push Up Ya Lighter” – Illadelph Halflife – 1996
“What They Do” – Illadelph Halflife – 1995
“The Seed 2.0″ – Phrenology - 2002
“Break You Off” – Phrenology - 2002
“Double Trouble” – Things Fall Apart - 1999
“Star/Pointro” – The Tipping Point – 2004 (Starts around 0:35)
“The Next Movement” – Things Fall Apart – 1999