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Saying Something New: The Roots light up the T-Dot

18 Oct 2005

It has taken countless years of live shows, many critically acclaimed albums and a whole lot of powerful lyricism to make Def Jam’s latest addition “The Roots” a hip-hop staple.

How does a group stay relevant, steadily gaining fans while keeping their core audience satisfied? Well, it may have a little to do with the perfectionism seen and heard in The Roots’ stage show. This is what Questlove emphasized to me after their show in Toronto. The need to give more and get more from the audience on any given night is very important to the group.

It was a packed house at the Docks, all anticipating a live hip-hop set unlike any other. The Roots did not disappoint. Whether it was a Rock interlude where you'd least expect it, a House or Afro beat liberally sprinkled in during a rendition of "Stay Cool" or perhaps a drum or guitar solo spontaneously erupting from one of the band members, the Roots brought organic hip hop to the stage, making it a truly unique experience.

The night began with Black thought giving us the first track ‘Star’ off their latest release, “The Tipping point”. "Go all-star, and get down for yours, to the ladies in the house, be proud of yours you got The Roots crew with the sound of course…"

The band then dug deep in their catalogue, taking us back with classics like “Concerto of the Desperado”, Rap/Rock hybrid “The Seed”, Techno-beat driven “Don''t Say Nuthin” and the crowd favorite “Act Too.. The Love of My Life”.

The evening did not feel like a typical Hip Hop show because our ears were treated to so many musical influences. It felt more like a musical buffet of jazz, house, rock & roll, and of course a healthy dollop of conscious lyrics.

Tipping Point available now at www.amazon.ca

The only element lacking was some more energy from the Roots. Truth be told, there were peaks and valleys in the performance. They had the audience on definite highs but the vibe was mellowed out during untimely solos or perhaps it was just one solo too many. Yet with years of experience and hits, whatever The Roots lacked in consistency and energy, they made-up for with Black thought’s precise delivery, and ?uestlove’s showmanship. Whether it was getting the audience to do a soul clap or sing a chorus, the disciples were willing.

In the end they left the audience wanting more because as Black thought put it “It sounds so nice, Hip-Hop, you the love of my life.”

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