Robin Thicke-Blurred Lines (Acoustic) ft. Jimmy Fallon and The Roots

So, this is basically incredible.

Thicke teamed up with Fallon and his wonderful house band, the legendary Roots crew, for a unique acoustic take on his international fan favourite of a single- they performed the entire track using instruments found in a music classroom. From a kazoo to a banana (yep) and spoons, it’s a fantastically-creative rework of the popular single; so much so, that Robin’s vocals end up becoming a bit of a sideshow to the ludicrous instrumental performance from all involved. Arrested Development fans-there’s even a real wood block involved (season 4 reference).

As if all of the above wasn’t enough, there’s a Black Thought verse thrown in for good measure, as he fills in for T.I. with a quickfire offering of his own, adding what is a great final touch to an excellent performance. Must-watch stuff for sure, if only for the sight of a banana being used as an instrument.

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Mick Boogie-illadelph/matic (Rarities and Remixes of Nas and The Roots)

Whenever Mick pops up in my inbox, it’s always a source of excitement at what the gifted DJ has in store for us. Today, it’s a very intriguing project, as he pulls together an enticing collection of tracks from the vault, in addition to some unique reworks of popular tracks from both acts.

A huge 36-track lineup awaits those who give this one a go, as Mick excavates some interesting material from both Nas and The Roots that features the likes of Q-Tip, Slick Rick and more, in addition to a few collaborative Nas/The Roots tracks. The mixtape is ‘for Madden Bowl 2012–part of this year’s Superbowl events–which takes place Thursday in Indianapolis.  Madden Bowl 2012 features live performances from Nas and The (Legendary) Roots Crew and Mick‘. Check it out below.

Mick Boogie-illadelph/matic

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The Roots-Sleep Video

Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us when we live.

The latest set of visuals from the upcoming undun album, with these set to the opening track of the album, and as the album is a story told in reverse this is one of the more revealing visuals from the series they’ve released. The revealing nature of it is not merely from its placement at the beginning of the album, but also as it works in sequence with the first video we were shown from the album, offering an alternate view on the killing that takes place and all but confirming the assumption that the hooded character was indeed Redford.

As with the previous videos, there are plenty of little details that suggest further messages. Most poignant is the sheer number of people that we see walk or run past the killed youth in the hazy background, with seemingly no-one stopping to actually help, clearly an indictment on the disaffected inhabitants of violence-infested locales such as the one we’ve been shown here and in the other videos. Worth a watch, and look out for that album in a couple of weeks.

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The Roots-Stomp Video

Sometimes you have to pick the gun up to put the gun down.

Prolific is an understatement as we’re treated to the third set of visuals from The Roots’ upcoming undun album, and it’s another short yet effective video in the Redford Stephens story. The facelessness (new word?) seen in the previous video is further continued here with Redford adopting a plain-faced disguise for his various violent crimes, with the nature of the robberies certainly adds a dark, realistic feel.

The faceless crimes enhance that ‘just another bad youth’ image, one that the preceding quote and the previous videos suggest will be stripped away with further video and audio from the album. Undoubtedly, this is probably the most engrossing project currently active in hip-hop, and once again I’m very excited for the full album to drop on 9th December.

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The Roots-Tip The Scale Video

undun is the story of this kid who becomes criminal, but he wasn’t born criminal. He’s not the nouveau exotic primitive bug-eyed gunrunner…he’s actually thoughtful and is neither victim nor hero. Just some kid who begins to order his world in a way that makes the most sense to him at a given moment…At the end of the day..isn’t that what we all do?

Another simple yet contextually effective video. The uncomplicated premise of a ‘kid on the wrong path’ walking through his rough neighbourhood provides an excellent platform for the smallest detail to offer a range of storytelling devices: the disapproving looks from elders suggest he’s already regarded as the ‘primitive bug-eyed gunrunner’, the aggressive expressions of one man towards the end imply his standing as a ‘competitor’, whilst the frequent image of Redford with his face almost entirely blacked out by the light further signifies his standing as another faceless black youth living on the wrong side of the tracks.

If you’ve not watched Make My, I’d recommend doing that too. undun coming December 9th, and I can’t wait.

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The Roots-Make My Video

undun is an existential re-telling of the short life of one Redford Stephens (1974-1999). Through the use of emotives and Redford’s internal dialogues the album seeks to illustrate the intersection of free will and prescribed destiny as it plays out ‘on the corner’. Utilizing a reverse narrative arc, the album begins as the listener finds Redford disoriented–postmortem–and attempting to make sense of his former life. As he moves through its pivotal moments he begins to deconstruct all that has led to his (and our own) coming undun.

With the concept for The Roots’ upcoming undun album explained, this short yet rather powerful clip of what is essentially just a shootout has a more poignant context. Particularly excellent is the hint of ambiguity: it’s not totally clear which of the two shooters is Redford. The viewer’s sympathy clearly extends to the character that is killed, but the final scenes of focus on the killer suggests the expansion may instead happen on this character, and hence throwing an interesting dynamic out there prior to the album release. A gritty, dark short clip, this is certainly worth watching as an opening to what comes next from this story. The full audio is here, and be sure to grab that album on December 9th.

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The Roots and Big K.R.I.T.-Make My

Much anticipated music from The Roots’ upcoming 13th album, undun, slated to be the first true concept album of their long and storied career, and it’s a hugely enjoyable listen.

Soft synths combine with a laidback percussion to provide a smooth, relaxing backdrop, creating a laidback atmosphere that bleeds into the vocal work right from the off. The raps are extremely solid from start to finish, as both Krit and Black Thought come through with introspective, thoughtful raps to capitalise on the production, whilst the soulful hook further enhances the mellow quality of the track. Excellent effort, and looking forward to that album on 9th December.

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Mick Boogie and Terry Urban-Award Tour

A fun, remixed uptempo happy good time consisting of the best remixes and rarites of this years Grammy nominees. Featuring remixed music by everyone from Lady Gaga, La Roux and Rihanna to Kanye West, Vampire Weekend and Florence & The Machine, there’s something for everybody for sure.

Looks very interesting to say the least, and the duo of Boogie and Urban never fail to deliver when it comes to these original projects. There are some serious names on this one, and the tracklist will defnitely whet your appetite. Click below for the download, and even further below for the tracklist.

Mick Boogie and Terry Urban-Award Tour
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Aloe Blacc and The Roots Perform I Need A Dollar

Once again, Jimmy Fallon is responsible for another great live music piece, this time grabbing Aloe Blacc to perform his single from earlier this year, I Need A Dollar.

As Jimmy’s house band, The Roots are there backing Aloe up nicely with some great instrumentation throughout, retaining the soulful sounds of the original whilst throwing in some extra energy. For someone who started off as a rapper, Aloe can most certainly hit his notes really well live, and also deserves great credit for a charismatic and confident performance.

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R. Kelly and The Roots Perform Ignition

Another nice musical piece from Jimmy Fallon’s show, as Kelly and The Roots hook up for web-exclusive performances of Ignition and Step In The Name of Love. Both are enjoyable performances of his early-00 hits, and ably backed as ever by The Legendary Roots Crew.

Also, be sure to click here and view the performance from the actual show, with the song of choice being Number One Hit from his upcoming Love Letter album. It’s another top track from the album, and another very enjoyable performance with some fantastic vocal work.

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Lauryn Hill and The Roots Cover Bob Marley’s Is This Love

It’s always great to hear this Bob Marley classic, but when it’s performed by the brilliant but elusive Lauryn Hill, there’s a whole new experience to enjoy.

As you’d rightfully expect, Lauryn stamps her authority on the track with a great performance, making it sound as if it was written for her in the first place. Ably backed by The Roots, this is a performance that’s well worth watching.

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Duffy and The Roots-Well, Well, Well

Who aren’t The Roots working with nowadays?!

Duffy returns with a jazzy pop track that will certainly be a radio hit. The Roots provide the production/instrumentation, and do so to great effect as ever, utilising horns to play off Duffy’s soul-jazz voice, successfully creating an upbeat track that fully enhances Duffy’s catchy lyrics. Decent enough track, and as I said earlier, it’ll be a big favourite for the mainstream crowd.

Duffy-Well, Well, Well ft. The Roots

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Jimmy Fallon, The Roots and Justin Timberlake-History of Hip-Hop

This is ridiculous and awesome. Fallon and JT (backed by The Roots) go through a medley of hip-hop classics (and a couple of non-classics…) superbly. JT’s always been a hip-hop fan, but even Fallon’s good with the classics and it’s really fun viewing. Brilliant stuff!

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John Legend and The Roots-Shine

A couple of tracks leaked from their upcoming collaborative album today, but this was probably the better one.

Shine manages to strike a rare, brilliant mix of being easygoing and relaxing whilst adding motivational and uplifting elements to the track. A fantastic contrast that is played out perfectly in both John’s vocals and the ever-capable backing of The Roots, who build the instrumental piece-by-piece into a rousing jazz-soul finale. Definitely one to check out for those after some organic, genuine music.

John Legend & The Roots-Shine

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John Legend, The Roots, Common and Melanie Fiona-Wake Up Everybody Video

Visuals for the mega-collabo from the upcoming John Legend/The Roots album. I do enjoy this soulful track, and expect these visuals to be pretty good considering the line-up.

Audio can be taken from here.

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Spotify: OTU's July Snapshot

Fans and followers, friends and foes: you heard it here first. Being the forward-thinking, innovative blog we are, Overrating The Underrated is jumping on the latest music revolution which is Spotify playlists. This will allow us to bring you monthly snapshots of all five authors’ posted material. The OTU monthly snapshots will ensure you never miss a thing and can enjoy all our picks from one central location: your Spotify application!

Unfamiliar with Spotify? It’s a free music application which allows you to stream and share music with your friends. You can listen to your playlists from any computer or phone in the world and you can also sync with Facebook to see what your friends are listening to. Keep up with the in-crowd, read about it and then get it here.

This month we’ve scoured through our back catalogue to bring you a stylish summery playlist boasting material from the likes of The-Dream, Empire Of The Sun, Tinchy Stryder, The Roots, Rick Ross, Skepta, You Me At Six and many more. So hurry up and click that glorious red text below!

Overrating The Underrated’s July Snapshot

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The Roots and John Legend-The Fire Video

I’ve been eagerly awaiting these visuals, and it’s every bit as gloriously epic as I’d hoped. Set in World War 2, this video is a fantastic mini-movie and adds even more depth to an already atmospheric and uplifting song.

Absolutely compelling, a video that will last long in your memory. Audio for the B.o.B remix is available here.

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John Legend/The Roots/Common - Wake Up Everybody

New leak from John Legend & The Roots’ upcoming album, Wake Up!, which is out mid September. If you’ve heard The Roots and/or John Legend before, then you won’t even be reading what I’m writing here and gone straight to the download link. Which is fair enough, this is a nice soulful track for this relaxing Saturday afternoon!

John Legend & The Roots – Wake Up Everybody ft. Common & Melanie Fiona

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Eminem x The Roots-Won't Back Down (Live)

This is pretty awesome. The Roots AND Eminem doing what they both do best; live on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

Pretty cool to not only see Em performing a different track from his album, but having The Roots perform their trademark live instrumentals really adds to this rendition.

Audio? Sure thing.

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The Roots-Dear God 2.0 Video

Brilliant, brilliant video. An open, brutally honest portrayal of everyday life, it not only works the audio well by matching its sombre and reflective nature, it exceeds it through some genuinely thought-provoking images.

Thoroughly gripping, and one that you’ll come away from thinking you were watching it for a lot longer than 3-4mins. Fantastic stuff.

Audio is here, and remember to pick up the album tomorrow.

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The Roots, John Legend and B.o.B

It’s always nice to come home from playing football straight to an inbox full of good music!

This one is B.o.B remixing a recently-leaked track from The Roots’ How I Got Over album. Not sure if it’s official or just B.o.B having some fun, but either way it’s worth checking out. John Legend delivers a fantastic hook and some great vocals throughout, whilst B.o.B really holds his own with his verse, alongside the ever-brilliant Black Thought.

Love the production too, and frankly everything about this song has the feel of a classic.

The Roots-The Fire Remix ft. John Legend and B.o.B

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More Single Artwork

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Ice Cube and The Roots-Straight Outta Compton Remix

Just a quick one from me. Gave this a brief listen and it sounded fantastic, with The Legendary Roots Crew adding their spin to a live performance from Ice Cube of Straight  Outta Compton. Makes for a nice refresh of the classic original, and always good to hear that Roots originality applied anywhere.

Ice Cube-Straight Outta Compton Live (The Roots Remix)

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The Roots and John Legend-Doin' It Again

As you may know, these two are actually working on a collaborative album together. This probably isn’t a true representation of that album as it merely samples some old John Legend vocals, but does offer a bit of a view into what it could sound like and is frankly another great track. The aforementioned vocals are superb, and some rhymes from the ‘underrated, underappreciated‘ Black Thought are always a great addition to any track.

3 for 3 so far on the tracks I’ve heard on this album. Looking forward to its release!

The Roots-Doin’ It Again ft. John Legend

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The Roots-Dear God 2.0

Quick one from me as I’ve got an engagement with a beer. New Roots from their upcoming How I Got Over, looking forward to giving this a go/checking out the whole album. Click here for the title track if you missed it a while ago.

Edit: Listened to this, and it’s very good. The sample, for those who didn’t know, is from a superb Monsters of Folk song released a little while back.

The Roots-Dear God 2.0

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New Artworks

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Mos Def and The Roots Perform Umi Says

The Roots and Mos Def combine to perform Mos’ classic Umi Says. Worth a watch for fans of either of them.

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The Roots Deliver A Free EP

Looks like free EPs are all the rage nowadays.

Those of you from the USA (or those that know US TV) will be familiar with the Jimmy Fallon Show. As of March, The Roots took up a place as Jimmy’s house band, and when entering/leaving breaks they play small sets (which they call sandwiches). The Roots have compiled 22 of them (apparently there are over 1000 recorded though!) and delivered this free package for the fans. I expect this will be rather good.

The Roots-Jimmy Fallon Sandwiches EP

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R&B Fridays: Episode 16

Lloyd takes up two spots in this edition, as well as an unexpected track featuring The Roots, and more.

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