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The Roots

The Roots
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The Roots.

The Roots artist page: interviews, features and/or performances archived at NPR Music

Studio Sessions

Elvis Costello and ?uestlove of The Roots.

September 24, 2013 The stars appear in the studio to perform songs from their new collaborative album, Wise Up Ghost.

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The Roots' ?uestlove on stage during his collaboration with singer Keren Ann, "Philly-Paris Lockdown," part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts.

May 25, 2011 Hear an interview with The Roots' drummer about his recent collaboration with singer Keren Ann.

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John Legend and The Roots; credit: Doug Seymour

October 25, 2010 Hear the soul singer and the hip-hop band play live and discuss the album they made together.

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September 13, 2006 The band has earned a lofty reputation in hip-hop and beyond by reinventing the genre's boundaries.

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Interviews & Profiles

?uestlove and The Roots play backing band to Elvis Costello on the new collaborative album Wise Up Ghost.

September 22, 2013 Costello and The Roots have forged one of the more unusual, invigorating partnerships of the year.

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Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson also teaches a class at New York University called "Topics in Recorded Music: Classic Albums."

April 15, 2013 Questlove, drummer and co-founder of The Roots, talks about his upcoming memoir.

Founded by Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson and Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter, The Roots have now been performing for more than two decades. The hip-hop group's latest album is undun.

December 18, 2011 Cofounders ?uestlove and Black Thought explain their story-driven new album, undun.

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Betty Wright's new album, her first in 10 years, is called Betty Wright: The Movie.

November 13, 2011 "I believe in making the radio sound better," says the R&B veteran.

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The dance-rock duo Chromeo goofs around on the set of Yo Gabba Gabba! with host DJ Lance Rock (center).

June 18, 2011 The show's creators discuss booking the bands they love and refusing to talk down to children.

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March 16, 2009 Opera's Jessye Norman and hip-hop artists perform a multimedia work set to Langston Hughes' poetry.

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March 13, 2009 Drummer Ahmir Thompson talks about his career in the hip-hop group The Roots.

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April 29, 2008 Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson talks about The Roots' new album, as well as his band's place in music.

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August 23, 2006 Hip-hop drummer Questlove of The Roots talks about the group's new album, Game Theory.

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Ahmir Thompson, AKA Questlove.

September 2, 2005 Questlove is the drummer for the Grammy-winning hip-hop group The Roots.

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Discover Songs

Junip

September 30, 2010 A look at new CDs from John Legend and The Roots, Jose Gonzalez and Elton John with Leon Russell.

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John Legend with The Roots

September 12, 2010 The soul king and the greatest band in hip-hop collaborate on a politically motivated covers album.

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September 28, 2006 The Roots' "Don't Feel Right" is a key track on what's arguably the hip-hop album of the year.

News

"Let's be real. We're all geeks in this room." ?uestlove, of The Roots, addresses the EMP Pop Conference on Sunday. At this moment, the drummer, producer and DJ was demonstrating the delighted confusion he tries to instigate on the dancefloor, which is why he spent years searching for the Spanish-language version of Kool and the Gang's "Celebration."

March 31, 2012 A weekend with a few hundred of the biggest geeks in the music world blurs plenty of boundaries.

Reviews

The Roots' 10th studio album, undun, is a concept record chronicling the downfall of its narrator.

December 6, 2011 Do we need a hip-hop concept album in 2011? Yes, if it's as thoughtful and poignant as undun.

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July 14, 2008 The album contains verses from the perspective of a child soldier in Sierra Leone and other issues.

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September 28, 2006 The Roots' "Don't Feel Right" is a key track on what's arguably the hip-hop album of the year.

July 13, 2004 The new Roots' CD Tipping Point captures the group's impromptu jam sessions.

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More Stories

Elvis Costello and The Roots' new album, Wise Up Ghost, comes out Sept. 17.

September 8, 2013 This collaboration sounds like the best of Costello's stuff, and like nothing he's done before.

tUnE-yArDs made a big impression in 2011 with the album w h o k i l l.

December 7, 2011 The All Songs gang compares notes on their favorite songs, albums and discoveries of 2011.

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PJ Harvey's Let England Shake tops John Schaefer's list of the year's best albums.

December 21, 2011 Some of the most memorable recordings of 2011 were not just great songs. They were about something.

Barton Hollow, by the Nashville duo The Civil Wars, was released in February, but took a long road to Ann Powers' list of albums of the year.

December 7, 2011 Albums by The Civil Wars, Kate Bush and others that moved one critic through a year in transit.

Wye Oak's Civilian, known now and forever as Stephen Thompson's third favorite record of 2011.

December 7, 2011 A list of albums showcasing the stormy elegance, big ideas and transporting melodies of 2011.

Cover art for Watch The Throne.

December 5, 2011 The list of our 50 favorite albums includes Kanye West And Jay-Z and more artists from K to R.

An image of the character Redford Stephens, taken from the iPhone app promoting the new album undun, by The Roots

December 2, 2011 Hip-hop's most reliable band is promoting its newest album by telling a story, starting at the end.

The Roots' undun comes out Dec. 6.

November 29, 2011 On their 13th album, Philadelphia's rap maestros reach new narrative and compositional heights.

Roots Picnic 2011.

June 3, 2011 The Roots, Nas, Esperanza Spalding, and Wiz Khalifa performed for thousands in Philadelphia.

The Roots

June 26, 2010 Drummer and co-founder ?uestlove says the band's new record is mature hip-hop inspired by change.

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December 5, 2006 John Richards, morning DJ for KEXP in Seattle, shares his picks for the year's best CDs.

NPR Artist Directory

Chopin

Frederic Chopin

Hear Chopin's music in performance and perspective.

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Gillian Welch

Gillian Welch

Enjoy archival interviews and performances from the folk revivalist.

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Spoon

Spoon

Music, live concerts and interviews with the pop-rock band.

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Rodrigo y Gabriela

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Hear and watch exclusive performances from the guitar-playing Mexican duo.

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Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Hear concerts and interviews with the atmospheric art-folk singer.

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Charles Mingus

Charles Mingus

Hear performances and profiles of the jazz innovator's work.

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Emerson String Quartet

Emerson String Quartet

Hear essential recordings and performances from the lauded quartet.

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Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

NPR Music explores the life and voice of the passionate Qawwali singer.

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Wye Oak

Wye Oak

Exclusive performances from the pop duo from Baltimore.

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M.I.A.

M.I.A.

Music and news from the Sri Lanka-born hip-hop artist and producer.

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Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire

Hear concerts and interviews with the grandiose art-rock band.

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Undun

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  • Album: Undun
  • Artist: The Roots
  • Label: Def Jam
  • Released: 2011
 

Rising Down

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  • Album: Rising Down
  • Artist: The Roots
  • Label: Def Jam
  • Released: 2008
 

Game Theory

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  • Album: Game Theory
  • Artist: The Roots
 

Tipping Point

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  • Album: Tipping Point
  • Artist: The Roots
  • Label: Geffen
  • Released: 2004
 

Mahler: Symphony No. 2

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  • Album: Mahler: Symphony No. 2
  • Artist: London Philharmonic, Vladimir Jurowski
  • Label: LPO
 

Betty Wright: The Movie

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  • Album: Betty Wright: The Movie
  • Artist: Betty Wright & the Roots
  • Label: S-Curve
  • Released: 2011
 

Wake Up!

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  • Album: Wake Up!
  • Artist: John Legend & The Roots
  • Label: Sony Music
  • Released: 2010
 

How I Got Over

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  • Album: How I Got Over
  • Artist: The Roots
  • Label: Mercury
  • Released: 2010
 

Passover

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  • Album: Passover
  • Artist: The Black Angels
 

Everything All the Time

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The Crane Wife

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Return to Cookie Mountain

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  • Artist: TV On the Radio
 

Putting the Days to Bed

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  • Artist: The Long Winters
 

Gulag Orkestar

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  • Artist: Beirut
 

Carnavas

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The Information

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Half the Time

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  • Album: Half the Time
  • Artist: Pablo