Monday, December 10, 2012

?uestlove, My Gateway to Hip Hop??

Hip Hop has never been a genre of music that I gave a fair chance to.  A friend of mine has been trying to convince me into giving it a chance but finding the ambition has been a long, hard battle. This is the same friend who introduced me to the new “Flying Lotus” album recently that I now love so much. So I definitely take his recommendations seriously.



The best place I figured to start would be with “the Roots”.


Now I am a big Late Night television fan. I am hands down a Letterman fan above everything else. I cannot compare anybody to David Letterman or Paul Shaffer so this is not a comparison! I even made it into Letterman’s studio audience a few years back. Coincidentally, Jimmy Fallon was the guest when I saw “The Late Show”. More about my “Late Show” visit on a future post.


Besides Paul Shaffer and the CBS orchestra, Jimmy Fallon has the best house band, in my opinion, with “The Roots”. They are always tight and full of energy. I thought it was great how Jimmy chose an established band rather than starting from scratch. Sure some people could say that “The Roots” sold out, but I don’t care! Some people are so easy to drop a band because they classify them as “sell outs”. All these people are doing is depriving them of some great entertainment. Relax, enjoy the show and stop looking for reasons not to like bands and start looking for more reason to like bands.


So technically I guess I have been listening to “the Roots” for years. But as I was soon to find out, their early albums are pure hip hop and far away from their performances on Jimmy Fallon.


The Roots was cofounded by “Black Thought” as MC and “?uestlove” on drums. Long before being a fan of “The Roots” I have been a fan of “?uestlove”. I am a fan of him as a vinyl collector and music trivia nut even more than I am a fan of him as a drummer or DJ (which he dominates at both).


I am not trying to steer away from the importance of Black thought on this article, however it’s a vinyl blog and ?uestlove is known for his massive vinyl collection so I just tend to know more about him. Black Thought stays clear of interviews a lot as well, usually passing the task over to ?uestlove, so there is a lot more to be known about him. I’m still learning the story behind “Black Thought” and hope to have more to post about him soon!


I don’t know if it was a comment I read at the bottom of one of ?uestloves YouTube videos or if it is just general knowledge but it fit him so well. It said:


“If ?uestlove doesn’t know the album, then it isn’t worth knowing about”. (Something in that regards).


There is a lot of truth behind this. His knowledge of old albums is uncanny. The history and small facts he knows of the most obscure artists is insane. Even Nardwuar couldn’t stump him and Nardwuar can usually stump anybody!

He has a real passion for music and vinyl in particular. Just seeing an interview of ?uestlove is enough to turn anybody into a vinyl collector.

?uestlove has been around music literally since the day he was born. His parents were both professional musicians. His father was in the Doo-wop group “Lee Andrews & the Hearts (Hell, his dad was Lee Andrews) and his mother was in the soul group called “Congress Alley”. I would love to get my hands on some 45’s by these groups. I’ll have to venture eBay.


(in the time it took me to get around to publishing this post, I picked up a 45 by both!)


?uestlove grew up on the road with his parents. He started learning drums at a very young age and even filled in with his father’s band when he was 13. I read recently on an interview that his first gig ever was at Radio City Music Hall! ( How cool is that?


So this weekend I picked up my first “The Roots” cd. I saw it in the $5 bin at HMV so I figured it was a good place to start.


I guess it is one of their most well known albums but regardless it’s new to me. It is called “Do You Want More?!!!??!”


I think it is safe to say that this is a good place to start in the world of Hip Hop. I can never see Hip Hop dominating my collection but I think it is a well deserved genre worth exploring.


I cannot even pretend to know anything about Hip Hop so I can only just point out the obvious that I noticed. So for a full thorough review you will have to look elsewhere. The rhythm on this album is very solid and I lot of jazz influence throughout. I am still in the early stages of learning sampling but from the little I know, this album helped explain lots. It is my understanding that they did not sample any albums but just their own recordings.


The album is full of solid rap lyrics. I have never been a big fan of rap but the artistic aspect of this album is sure broadening my interest.


Again I’m probably the person with the least knowledge on this band and genre but it is the album I have been enjoying these past few days and thought I’d share!


If I like this album what should be next in line? Are there any recommendations?


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