Philadelphia rap group the Roots were scheduled to join high-energy
New York MC Busta Rhymes on this weekend's edition of "Saturday
Night Live" for a rare performance featuring Rhymes with live
The Roots rap collective, known for their aversion to samples and
their use of live instrumentation, planned to accompany Rhymes on
performances of two songs from his most recent album,
Extinction Level Event: The Final World Front.
"The Roots are [one] of the most authentic quality hip-hop
ensemble[s] around," said lead MC Black Thought (born Tariq
Trotter) of why he thought Rhymes had tapped the six-man
collective to accompany him on the weekly 90-minute comedy
The nationally televised collaboration between Rhymes and the
Roots represents a drastic change for Rhymes (born Trevor Smith),
who typically performs accompanied by only a DJ and members of
his Flipmode Squad rap crew.
"Our whole thing is about setting a foundation where we are
constantly switching up the textures and keeping it fresh," Black
Thought said. "We're always coming up with new s--- and ways to
present our music, and Busta wants the best."
Black Thought said the Roots would back Rhymes on performances
of the frenetic "Gimme Some
More" (RealAudio excerpt), the first single from
E.L.E., and the equally frenzied call-and-response song
"Tear Da Roof Off."
The Roots are about to release their third major-label album,
Things Fall Apart (Feb. 23), which includes a duet with R&B
singer Erykah Badu on the first single, the jazzy rap tune
href="http://media.addict.com/atn-bin/get- music/Roots,_The/You_Got_Me.ram">"You Got Me"
music/Roots,_The/You_Got_Me.ram">"You Got Me"
Their new album draws its title from the classic 1958 novel by
Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. Black Thought said the theme of the
novel -- the devastating effects of cultural imperialism on a Nigerian
village -- fits the apocalyptic theme of the first single's video.
"It's just a sign of the times," Black Thought said of the "You Got
Me" clip, which depicts the band's members as survivors in a
seemingly post-apocalyptic world, walking through city streets
littered with lifeless bodies.
"It's art imitating life," Black Thought explained. "The video goes
even further [than the song] to represent the tradition of the [book's]
title. It's the end of one cycle and the beginning of the next."