Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"The Roots" Rock the Toronto Jazz Festival

The Roots are fantasic. True musicians. Expert performers. On Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at Nathan Philips Square (Toronto), The Roots gave an amazing 2-hour performance as part of the Toronto Jazz Festival.

To say they are legendary would be an understatement. There are so many hip hop artists and entertainers that come and go in the music industry--many are forgotten, many lack the ability to maintain a career that spans more than a few years, and many just simply don't have the genuine talent to keep their audiences engaged, and their fanbase active. The Roots are exceptional in all areas.

Gathered under the tent at the festival's Toronto Star Stage, the crowd seemed to become increasingly electrified as the show went on. Original band members MC Black Thought and ?uestLove on drums, along with guitarist "Captain" Kirk Douglas, bass player Owen Biddle, keyboardist James "Kamal" Gray, percussionist Frank "Knuckles" Walker, and tuba player Damon Bryson aka "Tuba Gooding Jr." delivered an impeccable musicial journey from start to finish.

Seeing The Roots perform was a reminder of what music is in its purest form. Instruments, naturally strong vocals, and vibes! The show followed perfect sequence as the band took their long-time fans back 20 years, and into the present time, featuring tunes from their 11 studio albums, including the latest album "How I Got Over" that was just released last week.

The show was a reminder of how music should be. Each instrumentalist could hold their own, and were individually featured on various songs. There wasn't a moment's delay, pause, or gimmicks, and constant grooves. Most importantly, the band radiated extreme passion. Their love for the music was evident on their faces, as they danced, performed, and kept their fans fulfilled.

A lot has changed in hip hop since 1987 when the Philadelphia-based band first emerged. While they have evolved, taken on a new gig as the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and they've developed supporters in other venues (@QuestLove has 1.3 million followers of his hilarious and brilliant Twitter commentary online)...they are still true musicians at heart, and have stayed true to their original essence.

The genre has grown and developed, the The Roots have proven that real music and real talented individuals can stand the test of time, maintain relevance, and still excel in their delivery. They are music. They are hip hop, and an essential cornerstone of the heart of the genre and everything that it is supposed to be. Real.

A few video highlights from the show:

Stacey Marie Robinson is the Membership Director of UMAC, The Urban Music Association of Canada, and author of the "Urban Toronto Tales" books, Canada's first and only urban fiction novel collection available at



  2. anyone know the name of the song that the bassist did his solo to?

  3. The Roots are easily one of my favorite hip hop groups of all time. Not too mention the fact that Black Thought is one of my favorite emcees. Just a really powerful and impressive group.

    I agree - definitely stayed true to their original essence.

    Thanks for sharing this post.