The Roots’ Tiny Desk Concert Is BIG, Brassy And Beautiful (Video)

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Hi. We recently created AFH TV, Ambrosia For Heads’ streaming video service, because we believe real Hip-Hop deserves its own dedicated TV home, but we need your help to make it great. Please subscribe to AFH TV. It is only $1.99/month or $12/year, and already features some amazing content, but the best is yet to come. Thank you for all of your support.

The Roots are the latest musicians to perform at NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series. Questlove, Black Thought, and the rest of the legendary band brought Bilal along for a moving rendition of 2017 single, “It Ain’t Fair.” The performance of the song from the film Detroit is bold and brilliant. From Bilal’s lyrics to some of Thought’s best rapping, this song speaks through the ages—none more than now.

However, before the “Illa-fifth” gets there, they introduce themselves and kick things off with a party-time jam in covering The J.B.’s “Gimme Some More.” The horns lead the way, as the hardest-working Hip-Hop band shows just how dynamic they can keep it. The instrumental and chorus-based song from 1972’s Food For Thought sounds great at the D.C. offices, and the crowd rejoices. “It Ain’t Fair” is next. It’s unclear if this song will make The Roots’ forthcoming album (which is said to conclude recording this week). However, it is one of the most evocative records of 2017. This performance has a softer sound and slower tempo than the studio version or the orchestral Tonight Show set, but the lyrics are just as cutting. The song builds, slows, and stops—before a completely warranted encore groove.

Besides Thought and Quest’, the full Roots band for this Tiny Desk set is Curtis L. Jones Jr (Trombone), Arnetta Johnson (Trumpet), Hiruy E. Tirfe (Sax), Richard L. Tate II (Sax), Joseph Streater (Trumpet), Norman Jeff Bradshaw (Trombone), and Damon Bryson (Sousaphone).

#BonusBeat: this recent TBD video makes a case for Black Thought as the Greatest MC of All Time:

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