I recently had the privilege of sharing some space with a great jazz singer who was lamenting the loss of music programs for children in Philly. As she spoke, she commented on the difference between synthesized music (which she said children were forced to create in the absence of traditional instruments) and performances with instrumentalists (she didn’t distinguish between those who are trained and those who play by ear). Specifically, she stated that synthesized music doesn’t capture human emotion. In many ways, i agree with her. Although i disagree with the claim that synthesized music lacks human emotion, i do believe that instrumentalists better capture and, therefore, transmit that aspect of humanity through music.
I think that is why i appreciate The Roots so much. Ever since i first heard “Proceed” and “Silent Treatment” (i heard them on the same day), i’ve been a fan. Black Thought was on point, but there was something about the “beats” that really resonated with my soul. When i later learned that The Roots are a band, it began to make sense. The live instruments seemed vibrate at a level that forced me to be more critical of everything else i listened to. I believe that they were a major factor in my embrace and promotion of what i then called “real” and/or “underground” hip hop.
Since that Saturday afternoon in 1995, The Roots have not ceased to impress me. Their 13th album, the Undun is great, and i believe that i’ll have it on heavy rotation for a while. You can read all about the album concept on Okayplayer. As you’re reading about, STREAM IT FOR FREE. The link probably will not work after today (Nov. 6), so once you’re convinced that it’s good, cop it and enjoy it to your heart’s content.
So, there it is. Happy Tru Skool Tuesday!
This is my ish right here: