The Fire . . .
Long, long before The Roots became the "house band" for Jimmy Fallon's two late-night shows they were "The Fabulous Roots Crew" out of Philadelphia. We're talking a LONG time before (the group started performing together in 1987 and joined Fallon in 2009) and I am proud to say that I've seen them in concert - THRICE - before many audiences ever knew of them (I have a very good friend who considers himself a hip hop aficionado who thought the group was formed for Jay-Z's fantastic, wonderful "Unplugged" performance in 2001). I'm not braggin' - I'm jussayin'.
As a matter of fact - The Roots is one of my five favorite rappers/rap groups of all time (5) Jurassic 5 4) Notorious B.I.G. 3) The Roots 2) De La Soul 1) Jay-Z) and I like them for a very simple reason - they are crafty. Musically they are gifted (live music and inclusion of the band is rare) and lyrically they are wonderful. But that is not crafty . . . what makes them crafty is how they can bury inspiration in their songs (check out "Tomorrow" of their recent " . . . and then you shoot your cousin.")
There are dozens of The Roots songs (with at least ten studio albums and some concert stuff and some collaborations floating around that is not hard) that I find inspiring but my favorite . . . my FAVORITE is "The Fire" off their 2010 album "how i got over".
Give it a listen . . .
When this album came out I was running for State Legislature. I was doing new business (sales) for an ad agency. I was struggling with my marriage. I was struggling with my faith. I was just sorta . . . well . . . struggling. This song came out at the perfect time to get me focused back around (for a few months, anyway).
I won't get in to the specific lyrics or why I appreciate them but I would bet that - if you give it a listen - you will find the inspiration yourself.