Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Legendary Roots Crew do it again...

Innovators in hip-hop, The Roots has focused on live instrumentation in recordings and concerts since 1987 when rapper Black Thought (Tariq Trotter) and drummer ?uestlove (Ahmir Khalib Thompson) met at the Philadelphia High School for Creative Performing Arts. Forsaking the usual hip-hop protocol, The Roots' produced its first major-label album, Do You Want More?!!!??! (1995), without any samples or previously recorded material, and made a name for itself by defying genres and conventions. The group is known for its complex and politically aware lyrical content ranging from violence and its consequences to the crime, poverty, guns and drug culture plaguing its hometown of Philadelphia.

As a loyal fan, I've seen the Roots at least half a dozen times and I never saw the same show twice. In the tradition of musical innovation the Roots presented a series of performances call the "Roots Jam" which calls on hand picked cameos of emerging artists and a lots of surprises in between. Last night's show was inspiring and had me twitter crazy. Highlights included the explosive opening act by a collective of Phili MC's known as the 5th Dynasty,"the Phili Wu Tang" as Black Thought put it.

Mazzy Swift a female electric violinist had a solo so uplifting the lighting engineer must have had a seizure while holding the was electric!

A former keyboardist to Miles Davis was on deck and added psychedelic notes to the ensemble. Pharaoh Monch ripped the stage as did Virginia MC, Skills on a freestyle trip. A young Rwandan woman who jump onstage and owned it had the vibe of a young Grace Jones. That was hot. Chester French even joined in on now what was a hip hop orchestra. To close the show the crowd was thrown in jumping craze as Dead Prez ran up on stage and dropped their lyricist anthem "Its Bigger than Hip Hop"...ride or die.

It was an all out JAM!

The next "The Jam" session is scheduled for May 5th. Check it.

At your service...Yo.

The Boulevardist

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