Label: Not On Label - RTS 03 • Format: Vinyl LP • Country: UK • Genre: Hip Hop •
Eric Deggans. Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson serves as drummer, bandleader and producer for The Roots. For the first time, a hip-hop group is the house band for the most influential TV show in late night.
And you can chalk up much of The Roots' success to the relaxed perfectionism of the band's leader, Questlove. When I first meet him, he is lounging on a couch in a mixing room, deep inside The Tonight Show 's Rockefeller Center studios.
Casually dressed in black jeans and black hoodie emblazoned with the words "legendary Roots crew," Questlove is listening to a recording of the band rehearsing its new single, "Never. The Roots will play the song before the show's cameras later that day; he's huddling with the program's engineer to show him how the band should sound. His ears seem to catch everything, including the thin tone of a wood block. Later he dishes on how one unnamed celebrity musical guest tweaked the mix of a performance right up until the show had to broadcast the footage.
Not so for Questlove, who looks comfortable and in command hours before taping. It's obvious such detail-oriented artistry has paid off well for Questlove and The Roots. The Roots are the last band you might expect to take over a late night TV institution. They came together in the late s and quickly emerged as critic's favorites.
But some in hip-hop saw them as quirky outsiders, at least at first, for their musicianship and brainy creativity. Hall on the show? Do they have range? At first, he says, NBC suggested a week probation cycle, where they would meet to discuss the band's performance.
It was a way to quietly let the group go if things didn't Giva Tha Drummer Sum (Questlove Freestyle Drum Sample) - Various - The 36th Chamber Of Noyze well. That's how the game 'Freestylin' with the Roots' was invented," Questlove says, referencing their version of a bit Johnny Carson once did with his Tonight Show musicians called "Stump the Band.
Forget that week meeting thing. Smart move. Because it turns out The Roots have an unexpected talent for creating great moments on camera that become viral videos. They reinvented Robin Thicke 's sexy, controversial hit "Blurred Lines" with kiddie instruments. And slow-jammed the news with the leader of the free world.
As we're hanging out in the band's tiny rehearsal studio, one of the show's writers stops by to ask for some on-the-spot creativity. In 1917-1997 - Alcatraz - Ni Dieu Ni Maitre, À Bas La Calotte Et Vive La Sociale ! couple of days, Will Ferrell will be a guest of the show. So the writer has a simple request: Could Questlove work up a simple drum solo Ferrell can pretend to play on camera?
First, Questlove looks up Giva Tha Drummer Sum (Questlove Freestyle Drum Sample) - Various - The 36th Chamber Of Noyze few drum solos on YouTube for inspiration. He sifts through clips of virtuoso solos — way too complicated for Ferrell to attempt — and even looks at a bit of his duet with Portlandia star and Saturday Night Live alum Fred Armisen, who actually plays drums.
Then Questlove sits behind a small kit in a cramped room packed with posters, DVDs, memorabilia and even a stray Grammy award. He reaches behind his back, pulls out a snare drum from among a half-dozen sitting on the floor behind him, and tries Two Deuces - Dutch Swing College Band* - Tribute To Louis Armstrong (Reel-To-Reel) ideas.
Mission accomplished. The quirkiest band in hip-hop kept its cool and conquered the biggest institution in late-night TV. Accessibility links Skip to main content Keyboard shortcuts for audio player. Don't Tell Me! NPR Shop.
Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email. July 3, PM ET. Heard on All Things Considered. Enlarge this image. The Roots.
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