You might have heard about them from Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night Show or even their wide array of collaborations… The Roots are a Hip Hop Jazz Band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Running at 62 ½ minutes, “Organix” is The Roots 1993 self-released debut album. The tracklist consists of 17 songs, and is full of various Jazz and Contemporary samples. The record’s most notable feature is the ability to stay consistent, without becoming too repetitive or bland.
Kicking off the album is track 1, “The Roots Is Comin.” As soon as the track begins, you are greeted with a warm bassline and recurring hi-hat to set the mood.
“From out the darkest field I goes to pick the funk crop
You can’t deny the props
so stop before your fronts
introducing, The Roots y’all..”
The next few tracks such as, “Pass the Popcorn” and “Anti-Circle” introduce the group’s unique personalities and standpoints on music culture. The instrumentation is heavily bass-focused, and reminds me a lot of Tribe’s earlier work, such as “The Low End Theory”. In “Anti Circle”, a nostalgic Go-Go Gadget theme can be heard sampled in the background, as Black Thought raps.
Moving on, track #6 “Good Music” is my personal favorite. This song is a Root’s homage to how music was BEFORE record labels stepped in. Even better then the message, are the vibrant snares and smooth keys used in the production.
“Does anybody like real music?
Sweet music, soul music?
You know The Roots is a group that’ll choose it
Just to use it, to make you move it, yeah”
Although it is not verified, I’m guessing Roots created this track due to the fact they were previously unsigned and an independent group.
Next on the list is “Grits”. When listening to “Grits”, you can hear the upbeat chord progressions sampled from Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City.”
You can also catch Questlove and Black Thought exchanging verses during the beat change ups, this is a classic cypher song.
My second all-time favorite track is “Leonard I-V.” I guess what drew me in so much was the CRAZY vocalized background that sounds like an acapella synth. If you reside in California (where it’s legal), this is definitely something you can sit back, light one up to and chill.
Next on the tracklist is a live session then a skit with , “Essawhamah?” and “There’s a Riot Going On”. The Riot skit especially grabbed my attention, since all you can hear is snoring in the background. I’m positive they were trying to make a statement, but cannot decipher exactly what that could be.
Getting near the album’s end is track #14, “Common Dust”. The song begins with a mellow guitar lead and Black Thought repeating “ashes to ashes and dust to dust.” According to Rap Genius, this phrase originates from a biblical verse speaking of returning to dust where we came from.
The last few tracks on the record end on a comedic note with “Carryin On” being the album’s closer. I laughed, as the circus-like drum loop played with The Roots ranting about how “you wanna get the f**k serious now?”
Overall, this is an amazing album and it would be a shame for you NOT to listen to it (especially if you are into jazz music).