OLLYWOOD SAMPLES ARE JOKES LIKE MARTIN,"
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
audience," says Roots bassist
l01 Leonard "Hub" Hubbard.
Quite possibly the hardest-hittin'
Philly export since Rocky, the Roots
HAT DO AN OBSCURE '60S PRO
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,
and when it comes to beats,
they're kickin' ass and tak-
ing names - all for the
sake of fun.
p ~ E P IE T R A S "This [record's]
NT EDITOR about gettin
vocalist Jill Cunniff. And this
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 Schellenbacl'
(drums) had to deal with
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 ba
ketball fans," says
F Cunniff. "And Kim
s has a side career
. **J singing."
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 b
Blondie fans," says Cunniff. "It became really
obvious that she should sing on this song called
Sure they're fantastic, they're fabulous, but
where can you see them
live? The band's talking
F ~about making the rounds
T Lon the Lilith Fair, but they'll
also be doing other shows
sic fans, because throughout the summer
rbecue aren't the and they'll be focusing on
kin' this summer. college shows in the fall.
summer releases Cunniff is lannin
artists: Luscious . g
KRS-One, Rage bringing more than just the
lachine, Flaming new music on the road.
INails, Bush, No She wants to set up song-
amliwell, Red Hot writing workshops for high
Wallflowers, Puff school students to coin-
eth, Cibo Matto, cide with the band's tour
ers, Stone Temple
Short, Pantera, dates. "Maybe 20 or 25
ely Dan, Eryka kids would come to sound-
and Special Sauce, check and we'd spend
a, Limp Blzkit, All maybe an hour with
irreli, Jamiroqual, them," she says. 0
e Pilot. Forget those fake dri-
ver's licenses you're nor-
mally carrying around,
d, uncensored inter- you might want to break
Cunniff, check out out that old high school
. |ID when these rockers
-----j come to town.
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,
J are a breath of fresh air in a hip-hop world dominated by stale, Puff
r 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 R Y D E N 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."
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.
Get ready mu
baseball and ba
only things coo
Check out hot
from these a
Against the S
Ups, Nine Inch
Doubt, Geri H
Badu, G. Lovea
4 One, Perry Fr
Luna and Futur
For the unedit
view with Jill
ID wwww * April/May 1999