Hip-hop is not dead — iconic hip-hop/neo soul band The Roots proved that last night.
The Roots came about in the late 1980s, when Philly natives Black Thought and Questlove put their genius together and birthed one of the most substantial movements in hip-hop. The Roots currently serve as the live band on the “Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” adding so much character to our daily nights. With Jimmy Fallon, they create and perform amazing, catchy music. Their eclectic jazzy, soulful and funky vibes resonate with all of us, just as they’ve been doing for over 30 years.
The Roots took to the Miller Lite Oasis stage this Sunday night, right after the mesmerizing Fourth of July fireworks. A great start to the night, wouldn’t you say? The only problem was that they graced the stage around 30 minutes late. Those darn fireworks.
Once the magic in the sky ended, the magic began on the stage. They opened up with a funky, “I Know You Got Soul,” giving the crowd a chance to loosen up and dance.
It needs to be said: The Roots know how to deliver a phenomenal show. This was the best concert I’ve been to since Ambassadors (currently known as X Ambassadors). What makes a great concert, in my opinion, is overall energy, crowd involvement and a mix of old and new songs, and The Roots certainly had all those bases covered.
Just about every song was followed by a band member showcasing their outstanding skills. Each instrument, from the trombone to the beatbox, was used in a clever fashion. They delivered mashups of multiple different genres like jazz, funk, EDM and rock ‘n’ roll.
Songs like “The Fire,” “The Next Movement” and their classic (and my favorite) “You Got Me” were played, allowing this band of storytellers to send their positive vibes and next-level flows to the whole crowd. One thing about The Roots is that they leave all misconceptions and preconceived notions of what hip-hop should be at the door, and invite us into the world of what hip-hop really is: soulful stories told in a poetic way. Hip-hop is about the artist sharing their experiences with the world, and The Roots succeed in doing so with class and without excessive use of profanity.
The crowd was full of many different types of people who all bopped their heads in the same manner, as we all felt the music being given to us. The Roots gave a beyond exciting performance to the Summerfest crowd, and the city of Milwaukee is grateful they graced us with their oh-so-real vibes.