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The Roots

  • 🇺🇸 Philadelphia, PA
  • Years Active
    1987 - Now
The Roots are hip-hop legends, renowned for their powerful, socially conscious lyrics and endlessly eclectic fusion of funk, soul, jazz and old-school rap.

Rapper Black Thought (Tariq Trotter) and drummer Questlove (Ahmir Thompson) founded the Roots in Philadelphia in 1987. While always a critic's favorite, the Roots struggled to reach mainstream audiences until their so-called "neo-soul" albums Things Fall Apart and Phrenology, responsible for hit singles including "You Got Me" and "The Seed (2.0)." Subsequent projects include full-length collaborations with John Legend and Elvis Costello.

When former Saturday Night Live star Jimmy Fallon took over NBC's Late Night franchise in March 2009, he enlisted the Roots to serve as the talk show's official house band - a natural fit for a band renowned for its incendiary live performances and longstanding reliance on live instrumentation. Five years later, Fallon and the Roots took over The Tonight Show. Questlove also won an Academy Award for his 2021 documentary Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), a chronicle of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival.

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