The real, played and sweaty hip hop of the Roots

The real, played and sweaty hip hop of the Roots

A quarter of a century ago, on February 23, 1999, i Roots released their fourth album, “Things fall apart”. A record that achieved considerable success and further contributed to consolidating the fame of the American posse within the hip hop movement. A group that makes quality and commitment its cornerstone. We are celebrating the anniversary of the release of “Things fall apart” republishing our review of that beautiful album.

The Roots are back, the real hip hop is back, played and sweated on the street corners of Philadelphia, where the group performed for many years before getting a real recording contract. A few years after the great recording and commercial exploit of “Do You Want More?!!??”, the group’s fortunes have declined slightly, but perhaps the scene has changed even more.

Blacks return to being the minority of a music that was initially born for them and if it is true that years ago at a RUN DMC concert there were only blacks and policemen, now a large part of this musical movement is for use and consumption of white kids who are b-boys wannabies. It’s a shame, because the integrity of the Roots is unquestionable, as this album showcases admirably, which presents us with the magical style of a rapper like Black Thought alongside a music that skillfully combines soul, jazz and funk in the capacious and hypnotic meshes of best hip hop.

To get into the charts, however, all the good things about this album might not be enough and so the group takes action by bringing out a single like “You got me” sung together with ‘princess’ Erykah Badu, like saying the right voice at the right time. If the previous album, unanimously considered their best, had not achieved noteworthy commercial fortunes, “Things Fall Apart” promises to do much better, pervaded as it is with great music and great lyrics.

Who knows why in the States in the end the best, the most intelligent observers of power, like Roots and Michael Franti, are left behind: the fact is that with this album the former try to give a boost to their slightly curved posture to get back on their feet. The wishes that they succeed are sincere, as always towards those who – with honesty and passion – do their best to make hip hop live and not betray its original meanings.