Five Best Songs From The Roots’ ‘Do You Want More?!!!??!’ LP
The average American would probably associate The Rootsas the house band on the 'Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,' but to rap fans, the Philadelphia group is one of the greatest bands in hip-hop history.
The Illadelph crew are known for their live instrumentation and jazz-inspired sound. Throughout their career, the group have undergone various changes to their official lineup, but the two most familiar faces have always been drummer Questlove and lyricist Black Thought.
Founding the group together while students at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, they would eventually add additional members to the mix, including rapper Malik B., beat-boxer Rhazel, and musicians Leonard "Hub" Hubbard and Josh Abrams.
Releasing their first album, 1993's 'Organix,' independently, the group gained enough buzz through their enthralling live performances and word of mouth, to eventually ink a recording deal with DGC/Geffen Records. On Jan. 17, 1995, the group released their first major-label debut effort, 'Do You Want More?!!!??!.'
Although a modest success in terms of record sales, the album became a hit on the underground circuit, piquing the interests of rap purists for Black Thoughts' elite lyrical ability and the bohemian sect gravitating toward the crew's homegrown sound.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of their landmark album and we decided to dissect the five best tracks from this beloved recording. Give the drummer some.
Black Thought goes on a lyrical rampage on 'What Goes On, Pt. 7' with two heat-seeking verses. "N----s cannot see me, cannot be me / Or capture the metaphoric phrase blasted on stage when I tour / I am but a messenger born to blow up / My n----s knew it all the time, lyrically I was a dime / By the age of nine," raps the lowkey MC on his first verse. Fellow rapper Elo also makes an appearance delivering a brief eight-bar couplet.
Following a quick intro, 'Do You Want More?!!!??!' kicks off with the opening track, 'Proceed.' The second single released from the album, the song features Thought and Malik B waxing poetic about their superb skills over live production. The end result is quite enticing to say the least. The Philly MC is in cruise control throughout this performance, dropping two solid verses that, while far from his best, are more than serviceable and gets the job done. Handling closing duties is the ever-steady Malik B who is on-point as usual. "I could make a hundred yard line start to dash / I could make a whole lake of fish start to splash / I could make Conan and the titans clash / and I could make Metallica and Guns N Roses thrash," he raps, utilizing a smooth as silk flow. Both rappers "proceed to rock the mic" in a fashion that any rapper worth his salt would be proud of.
The Roots turn it up a notch on 'I Can Remain Calm.' Backed by Questlove on the drums and groovy keys, Thought comes correct on this number, spitting "Style remain but for jerks that erk / come out my humble, go bezerk and make you swallow your smirk / I splurge most to bash, capacitate mass / I fascinate as I assassinate a sole task." Lyrically bombing all throughout the track, Thought is in his zone on this outing, dropping a litany of witty quips while remaining cool as the other side of the pillow.
Released as the first single, 'Distortion To Static' is four minutes of some of the best rhyming you will ever hear. Opening with "Yo, I'm every MC, it's all in me / That's the way it is, where you gotta be / Indeed, as I distort, I proceed in need / getting hotter than sacks of boom in my room at the Ramada," Thought then goes for broke for 36 bars straight. Malik B joins in for an impressive verse as well. "Mellow, my culture, rythymatic vulture / Approach ya with magnetics, yo, that's ultra / I make MCs dangle like the bangle, strangle from every angle / My lingo jingles and it dangles under Kangols," he raps. From the barrage of dope lyrics to the murky soundscape, 'Distortion To Static' serves as a tasty slice of boom-bap heaven with all of the fixings.
The album reaches its pinnacle with the superb track, 'Mellow My Man.' Powered by live keys, drums and horns, Thought and Malik share mic duties over jazzy productions. Thought spits, "La-di-da-di, who likes to party / like Slick Rick the Ruler, I'm cooler than a ice brick / got soul like those afro picks with the black fist / and leave a crowd dropping like John the Baptist." Malik shines especially on the closing verse with notable lyrics like, "Change my name to Saran Reynolds then I wrap 'em / Negro's know that [Malik] B be thorough to my borough, cause my ass is so thorough / like Levert, Gerald, too strong, too sterile." 'Mellow My Man' sees The Roots hitting on all cylinders and is a minor glimpse of the progression the group would make over the years. This is classic hip-hop at its finest.