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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…)

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

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the-roots-rising-down.jpg

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.”

in hip-hop album news… January 30, 2008

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okayplayer:

In a shift from their previous two releases, The Roots’ Rising Down is STACKED with guest appearances. In addition to crew regulars Dice Raw, Truck North, P.O.R.N. and yes, Malik B, confirmed guests include: Mos Def, Common, Kweli, Peedi Peedi, Styles P, Wale, Patrick Stump, Mercedes Martinez, Chrisette Michelle. Also rumored to appear are Q-Tip, Lupe Fiasco, and Jay Electronica.

jamaica observer with erykah badu:

I have three albums coming out this year, the first one will be released on February 26 (her birthday) and it’s gonna be called New Amerykah,” Badu says, adding that the next, Return Of The Ankh is scheduled for a July release.

“The other one’s gonna be called New Amerykah II and it’s gonna be a totally digital experience.”

Removing an ebony puff of her larger-than-life afro from her face, Badu explains the meaning of “totally digital experience”.

“You’ll purchase (instead of a CD) a USB stick, each will come with a specific code that you punch in. That way you’ll get to upload a new song every month for the next 10 months.”

Her digital ideas, however, don’t stop there!

“I’ll also be starting a magazine called Freaq, it’s gonna be dedicated to arts, politics, beauty, fashion, photography and technology,” shares the 36-year-old, adding that she also manages her own Myspace page.

“I feel so inspired. My religion is Art, I do the creator’s work best in that medium,” she says.

“You don’t see the head-wrap no more, no ankh? That’s because I am that. I don’t have to have nothing on me. It just takes the things that I have buried inside of me to become who I am. I’m just happy in my day”