When you think Philadelphia, one of the first things that comes to mind is “The Roots”. It’s that simple. They are one of the most well known, critically acclaimed, and admired musical artists that have ever come out of my home town, having won Grammys, been nominated for countless other awards, and serving as Cultural Global Ambassadors for a generation, and have cemented themselves as one of the true pioneers in all of Hip Hop. Their music has been groundbreaking, and after having released 12 albums, 2 EP’s, and worked/collaborated with the best of the best in music, while also becoming the house band for one of the coolest shows on TV, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, it seems like their best music still lies ahead! The two original founders of the group are Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson (Rolling Stone ranked him the #8 best drummer of all time, and although he is to humble and down to Earth to admit it, he has become one of the most respected, recognizable, and loved musical artists in the business having become the symbol of the band, a global brand on his own, and produced for the likes of Common, D’Angelo, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Bilal, Jay-Z, Nikka Costa and more recently, Al Green, Amy Winehouse and John Legend.) and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter (One of the great lyricists of all time!), and they have worked together to make music history and create one of the great legacies in Hip Hop.
What’s even more important outside of their musical accomplishments is the ability to give back, and Tariq has helped create a wonderful foundation aptly called “GrassROOTS” (I’ve linked their site here and I encourage everyone to please check it out and donate as much as they can) who’s mission statement is:
“GrassROOTS Foundation is a collaborative effort of Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, co-founder and lead MC of the Grammy Award Winning group, the Roots, and sociologist, Dr. Janice Johnson Dias. We are committed to contributing to the health and well-being of vulnerable populations and disadvantaged communities. Merging the talents of socially conscious artists with those of a rigorous scientific research and creative team, we are investing our energies to developing the capacity of community based organizations that offer educational and recreational services to disadvantaged women and girls. We see women and girls as the foundation of our society. An investment in them, their families, and the organizations that work with them is an investment in our futures. GrassROOTS will target our work at ten cities in the US where women and girls experience the highest incidences of obesity, breast cancer, suicide and HIV/AIDS. These are Augusta, GA, Louisville, KY, Memphis, TN, New Orleans, LA, Oklahoma City, OK, Birmingham, AL, Philadelphia, PA, Greensboro, NC, Jackson, MI, and Newark, NJ. “
Here “The King Of Kamelot” sits down with Questlove and Black Thought of the legendary “The Roots” to talk about their iconic careers, the ability to support such an amazing foundation and cause in GrassROOTS, some of their greatest moments and achievements as artists, what it has been like on a now 25 year journey to the top, their most memorable moments, working on Jimmy Fallon and sooooo much more! This was truly an honor for me because I LOVE their music, but to meet and get to know these awesome guys who are using their celebrity for such a great cause, and just seeing how cool and humble they were was a joy! The only thing that disappointed me was that I wanted to steal Quest’s Hair Pick that he always has in his Afro, but he had corn rolls that night and I made sure to hammer him in our interview and get a laugh out of him…An enormous thank you to the awesome crew over at the legendary Sigma Sound Studios for all of their help with this..Enjoy Kade Nation!!