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June 01, 1999 - Image 26

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1999-06-01

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raps Black Thought on the Roots' latest effort Things
Fall Apart. The 17-track album is a wake-up call to a
rap world made turgid by money-grabbin' playas. It's also the
Philadelphia sextet's magnum opus, a pure-to-the-bone hip-hop
record that's anything "but" a G-thang.
Ripe with superb musicianship and thought-provoking lyrics, Things
Fall Apart could go down as the most influential rap album since Public
Enemy's Fear of a Black Planet - it's that good. Long a favorite with
critics and hip-hop purists, the Roots appear to be on the brink of mas-
sive commercial success with this, their fourth album and first since
1996's acclaimed Illidelph Halflife. "We've always had the critical
(acclaim), but with this one we're really getting in the lock with a broader

and when it comes to beats,
they're kickin' ass and tak-
ing names - all for the
sake of fun.
E PI E T R A S "This [record's]
NEDITOR about getting
happy," sam
vocalist Jill Cunniff. And t
$singer's got a lot to be
happy about - Cunniff says
the record's love songs
were inspired by her recent
While matrimony may
have helped her with song-
writing fodder, she and band-
mates Gabby Glaser (guitar)
and Kate Schellenb
(drums) had to deal
another big adjustment - the
loss of keyboardist Vivian
Trimble, who left the group
because she no longer want-
ed to tour. "We definitely miss her but we were
definitely able to fill in the blanks," Cunniff says.
The ladies also get a little help on the new
record from two fellow divas and a basketball play-
er. That's right, New York Liberty center Kim
Hampton flexes her vocal muscles on "Friends,"
the album's closer. "Kate and Gabby are big bas-
ketball fans," so
k Cunniff. "And Kim
S has a side career
Toy SCountry legend
Emmylou Harris
appears on the
record's first single
"Ladyfingers." But it's the queen of '70s pop,
Blondie's Debbie Harry, who chimes in for the
album's most exciting moment. "We're bi
Blondie fans," says Cunniff. "It became reW
obvious that she should sing on this song called
'Fantastic Fabulous.'"
Sure they're fantastic, they're fabulous, but

hoopster, a new-wave goddess
and the streets of New York all
have in common? Put 'em together and
you've got the beginnings of alterna-funk

outfit Luscious Jackson.
Taking their name from an
ex-Philadelphia 76er, Luscious
Jackson first wowed critics
with their 1992 EP In Search
of Manny and then again with
1994's Natural Ingredients,
an infectious blend of funky,

guitar-driven pop

coupled with the in-your-face beats and attitude
of hip-hop. Drawing comparisons to their friends
and labelmates the Beastie Boys, the group's
success continued with the 1996 release Fever
In, Fever Out, a mostly melancholy record with
the catchy single "Naked Eye."
Electric Honey is their latest,


audience," says Roots bassist
Leonard "Hub" Hubbard.
Quite possibly the hardest-hittin'
Philly export since Rocky, the Roots

are a breath of fresh air in a hip-hop world dominated by stale, Puff
Daddy-style pop recyclers. With an engaging blend of live instrumenta-
tion and lyrics that mix introspective wisdom with Beastie-style word
play, the Roots are the vanguard for a hip-hop renaissance that includes

like-minded artistes such as OutKast, Black Eyed Peas, Black Star and Common. Question is, are they ready
to carry the torch as hip-hop saviors? "I enjoy it," Hubbard says of the movement. "The general music pub-
lic doesn't look at hip-hop as a style of music that has musicians at all - they grew up with people spinning
turntables. But then they come see us,
BY CHAD D RYD EN OHIO U. they're seeing their favorite break-
beats performed live for the first time.
It's a new experience for them, and I
think it's part of what helped [the pub-
lic] embrace us."

Get ready music fans, because
baseball and barbecue aren't the
only things cooldn' this summer.
Check out hot summer releases
from these artists: Luscious
Jackson, Air, KRS-One, Rage
Against the Machine, Flaming
Ups, Nine Inch Nails, Bush, No
Doubt, Geri Halliwell, Red Hot
Chili Peppers, Wallflowers, Puff
Daddy, Megadeth, Cibo Matto,
Chemical Brothers, Stone Temple
Pilots, Too Short, Pantera,
Breeders, Steely Dan, Eryka
Badu, 0. Love and Special Sauce,
Rza, Cappadonna, Ump Bizkit, All
4 One, Perry Farrell, Jamiroquai,
Luna and Future Pilot.
For the unedited, uncensored inter- I
view with Jill Cunniff, check out I

where can you see them
live? The band's talking
about making the rounds
on the Lilith Fair, but they'll
also be doing other shows
throughout the summer
and they'll be focusing on
college shows in the fall.
Cunniff is planning
bringing more than just
new music on the road.
She wants to set up song-
writing workshops for high
school students to coin-
cide with the band's tour
dates. "Maybe 20 or 25
kids would come to sound-
check and we'd spend
maybe an hour with
them," she says.
Forget those fake
ver's licenses you're nor-
mally carrying around,
you might want to break
out that old high school
ID when these rockers
come to town.


If early reports are any indication,
the Roots can expect big things both
critically and financially this year. The
group isn't about to start counting
those Benjamins, though -- they
know the hip-hop world is a tumul-
tuous one, subject to the whims of a
somewhat unfaithful audience. It's a
fact not lost on the Roots, who can,
at the very least, go to bed knowing
they're headed in the right direction.

10 W awam b April/May 1999

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