Artist Spotlight: The Roots
The Roots may be the least likely group from the early '90s to still be relevant and, better yet, still be recording for a major label like Def Jam. Led by drummer/producer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, the Philadelphia ensemble experiments relentlessly with their sound, whether they're incorporating jazz and classical music or collaborating with iconoclasts like Elvis Costello (which led to last year’s Wise Up GHOST). In a genre that prizes commercial viability, they’ve managed to succeed at being one of the most artistically minded of the bunch. Hence the just-released ... And Then You Shoot Your Cousin, a concept piece on poverty and crime in urban America. This playlist delves into dozens of highlights from The Roots’ extensive catalog, with old-school faves like “Pass the Popcorn” and “Proceed”; genuine radio hits like “The Seed 2.0” and “You Got Me”; and excellent deep cuts like “Water” as well as plenty of material from the new album.