So before the storied and lengthy career and massive critical acclaim, before Black Thought was proving he was the GOAT, before ?uestlove was the keeper of the culture and the beats, and before they were Jimmy Fallon‘s house band, The Roots was a unique rap act coming out of Philly, and in the early ’90s right when East Coast hip-hop was taking on a jazz-influenced style, The Roots went all the way in, employing live instruments like horns and pianos. A hip-hop band in the vein of old-school groups like Stetsasonic, The Roots was formed by ?uest and Thought back in the late ’80s and came into their own during the ’90s with smooth tracks, thoughtfully composed records, and terrific rhyming from Thought and other emcees such as Dice Raw and Malik B. Thirty years on and the group has been extremely consistent with their music. They’ve ebbed and flowed, and not every record of theirs has been a classic, but their discography is not to be trifled with. I became a fan with their classic ’99 release, Things Fall Apart, but since then I’ve delved into their discography and I’m partial to Illadelph Halflife and How I Got Over. Every hip-hop head has at least one or two favorite Roots records, and if not, you’re excommunicated!
Anyhow, this evening I found myself listening to Organix, their low-key independent debut from 1993, and the record definitely shows flashes of the greatness to come. “Pass The Popcorn” reigns as one of my favorite joints from the band’s early period, feeling like a joyous rap cypher, where everyone goes in and rhymes whatever comes to mind. It’s fun, catchy, and laid back.
It looks like another one’s coming around!