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another great ?uestlove interview April 23, 2008

Posted by KG in arts/culture, comedy, design, hip-hop, interviews, legal, marketing, media, music, news, radio.
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onsmash:

With less than a week till the release of their 8th (!) masterpiece, Rising Down, OnSMASH linked up with The Roots mouthpiece and unofficial leader ?uestlove to talk about his legendary crew and the state of this art we call hip-hop.

I want to talk about Rising Down right now. From what I’ve been hearing, with the exception of one song [“Birthday Girl”], this record sounds very, very serious, very aggressive, and kind of dark. The last Roots record, I got that kind feeling from like that, was Illadelph Half Life. What was the intent behind this record?

Hip-hop is about as apolitical as it’s ever been. I guess there’s some sort of unsaid science to how we made this record. In order not to come off like we’re on our soapbox we knew that musically this album had to be bangin’. But of course the 2008 definition of bangin’ definitely varies from the 1996 definition of bangin’, but that’s the standard with which we feel most comfortable. So there’s this sort of boom bap element [on the album]. At the very most today when you get a hip-hop record you can only hope for that one cut that has that “boom bap element”, similar to how what the one radio cut was back in the day, like Brand Nubian’s “Tried To Do Me” or Diamond D “I’m So Confused” song. One token radio cut on a hip-hop record now turned into one Primo cut on a commercial record [in 2008].

Very true

We just wanted to put out an album of bangers because we kind of knew we had to sort of offset the heavy message. I guess if anything probably the hardest thing to do on this record was to put everything in first person perspective. Because normally whenever we did touch something political it was always from a very safe arm’s length third person perspective.

(more…)

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the roots – rising down (hum drum) March 19, 2008

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rising down album cover

…featuring mos def & styles p

ok so it’s not a full on comeback for mos but it ain’t bad…

lyrics available here 

a reason to look forward to april February 22, 2008

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the roots’ next cd: track by track:

On April 29, the Roots will unveil Rising Down — the latest step in the six-member Philadelphia hip-hop band’s 15-year evolution on record. The darkly funky, politically charged project is now almost done after more than a year of recording, though it is currently missing contributions from planned guest artists Common, Lupe Fiasco, and Q-Tip.

Earlier this week, EW stopped by the Manhattan studio where rapper Tariq ”Black Thought” Trotter, 35, and drummer/producer Ahmir ”?uestlove” Thompson, 37, are working on some final touches, and scored an early listen to the still unsequenced 12-track set.

”RISING DOWN” (possible alternate title: ”Humdrum”) Guest rappers Mos Def and Styles P join Trotter in unleashing a slew of dystopian imagery over heavy, atmospheric synths. ”It’s not an intro, but more an introduction to the topical theme of the album,” Trotter says. ”Mos kicks it off from one perspective. My verse is about global warming and how the world is all haywire. And Styles P is rapping about prescription-drug campaigns, the stuff they advertise on TV, all the crazy side effects. We’re all dealing with different aspects of the state of the world.”

”BLACK’S RECONSTRUCTION” Trotter raps for 75 bars straight on this lyrical exercise, spitting effortless game (”Smooth like the dude Sean Connery was playing”) over a dirty drumbeat and foghorn-like tuba moans. ”It was a first take,” notes Trotter. (Show-off!) ”That’s a song in the tradition of ‘Web’ and ‘Thought @ Work’. It’s become something that die-hard fans check for, that extended freestyle, minimal chorus, hard-hitting lyrical joint.”

black thought @ work January 27, 2008

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the man can flow. what more is there to say.

the og:

the roots japan 2008 tour blog

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feeling soulful January 3, 2008

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unreleased song from when black thought was living in l.a. and collab’ing with dilla…

black thought: “…i took the inell young sample to dilla and commons crib in la when we did workinonit and cant stop this. i took the sample directly from a kenny dope mixtape and just looped the beginning. dilla upped the stakes by choppin up the whoo hoo hoo hoooooos” to make it more random/ less repetitious but it was still bangin with just that intro and the slightest bit of echo u hear from the previous kenny dope jawn bleedin in. its just a demo tho. crazy how certain songs just bring about that “feeling.” nahmean? anyway, aintaboutnuffin. all to gravy.”

the roots – please don’t go:

&

cody chesnuTT’s “serve this royalty” from the headphone masterpiece…that sax + organ is so so good…

kg’s most anticipated hip-hop albums of 2008 December 28, 2007

Posted by KG in hip-hop, misc, music, top ten lists.
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in no particular order & assuming that they actually come out…

mos def – the ecstatic
erykah badu – badu iz um?
the roots – rising down
88 keys – death of adam
atmosphere – tba
ghostface & mf doom – swift & changeable
supreme team (madlib & karriem riggins) – tba
black thought & danger mouse – dangerous thoughts
lil wayne – tha carter III
nas – the n
q-tip – live at the renaissance
common – tba
andre 3000 – tba
gnarls barkley – tba
talib kweli & hi-tek – reflection eternal 2
mf doom & madlib – madvillain 2
dr. dre – detox

update for new entries: murs & 9th wonder – sweet lord

idle warship – party robot