Going on our 5th week strong, Beats & Eats is comin' fresh out the kitchen with another piping-hot-pairing of one of your favorite hip-hop albums and a little something to snack on. Featured this week is without a shred of doubt, one of hip hop's finest acts, being a key figure in the game since as early as the 90's without falling off in my opinion. Definitely a key element that deserves to be in anybody's hip-hop pantry.
The Roots' Things Fall Apart
Released in 1999, Things Fall Apart is in my humble and personal opinion, up there as a top contender as the hip hop band's greatest album, definitely amongst hip-hop's greatest albums as a musical genre. Things Fall Apart was released just as Philadelphia-based hip-hop group The Roots were solidifying themselves as a band and creating a unique and signature sound for themselves. Being one of hip-hop's few and best actual legitimate bands with their fondness for rapping over live instrumentation rather than beats assembled by a producer. They were out there proving that a genre like hip-hop that was formerly seen as crude by some could also be something that required musicality and technical skill with an instrument as well. Now they're even a huge success as the house band for the new Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Plus slaps like "You Got Me" and "Act Too...The Love of My Life" were just plain ill.
Of course, there's the obvious aspect of this. The Roots make no secret of representing their Philadelphia uh, roots proudly. This may take the form of esoterically making references to neighborhoods and things in the city, naming an album Illadelph Halfife after the citiy's nickname, or wearing Phillies memorabilia on television. But give me more credit, son. There's more to The Roots-- and the philly cheesesteak, than meets the ears and tongue. Being a large hip-hop ensemble, The Roots has about 7 people currently on an instrument plus Blackthought emceeing. Maybe i'm cheesy as fuck (cheese pun intended), and maybe i'm reaching, but I find that an adequate analogy for the sandwich. Everyone is coming together to compose music like ingredients come together to make a philly cheesesteak namsayin'. Let's go even deeper. If The Roots was the music equivalent to the philly cheesesteak, my dude Questlove has gotta be the buns, hands down. His mesmerizing beats on those drums keep the band in time and hold everybody together without a doubt. Blackthought (and to a slightly lesser extent Dice Raw and Malik B.)? Definitely the steak. He's the meat of the song, the main thing everybody goes for, killin it with his signature flavorful and smooth flow. Of course, this flavor is only enhanced even more by the cheese- everyone else laying down the instrumentals. The Illa-fifth and the philly cheesesteak are your golden-ass ticket to a good time.