Grammy award winning hip-hop trailblazers The Roots are set to release Rising Down on April 29th via Def Jam Recordings. Known for their prolific lyrics and live instrumentation, the Legendary Philadelphia crew is composed of Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter (vocals), Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson (drums), Kamal Gray (keyboards), Frank Knuckles (percussion), Kirk “Captain Kirk” Douglas (guitar) and Owen Biddle (bass).
Garnering critical praise throughout their career, The Roots have firmly established themselves as a band with uncompromised artistic control and integrity. With Rising Down, the band’s 10th album release, The Roots continue to take bolder steps adding new depths and range to their repertoire.
The Roots co-founder ?uestlove states, “This is probably our most political album to date dealing with addiction, nihilism, hypocritical double standards in the prison system and overall life in Philadelphia. I'd say it’s more mature and intense than all of our efforts but not a ‘downer’ as most people expect us to do.”
The political nature of Rising Down is not only heard within the music. The title comes from William T. Vollmann’s treatise on violence entitled Rising Up and Rising Down, and the release date falls on the 16th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots sparked by the acquittal of the police officers accused of beating Rodney King.
Standout tracks include: “Criminal” a reflection of life on the streets and unjust persecution, “I Will Not Apologize” a tribute to Fela Kuti that discusses keeping dignity in the music biz and “I Can’t Help It” a look at addictions and urges that compel us all. The pop-infused first single- “Birthday Girl”- features Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump. Additional guests on the album include Common, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Saigon, Dice Raw, Chrisette Michele and more (see track listing below).
Director Rik Cordero recently shot a video for the track “75 Bars (Black’s Reconstruction)” in New York City. The hard-hitting track, recorded in one take, features Black Thought rapping 75 bars straight.
Check out the video here: http://videos.onsmash.com/v/qttzjQ74zTJtWZ4P.
A video for “Get Busy” was also shot by Cordero and finds The Roots taking over an office space. The song revisits golden-era, East Coast hip-hop with the return of the boom-bap and synths to add the modern edge.
The video can be streamed here: http://videos.onsmash.com/v/b6lVAXc7ldjfdHNt.
Rising Down track listing:
The Pow Wow
Rising Down- feat. Mos Def and Styles P
Get Busy- feat. Dice Raw, Peedi Crack and DJ Jazzy Jeff
75 Bars (Black's Reconstruction)
Criminal- feat. Saigon and Truck North
I Will Not Apologize- feat. P.O.R.N. and Dice Raw
I Can't Help It- feat. Malik B and P.O.R.N.
Singing Man- feat. Truck North and P.O.R.N.
Up There (Unwritten)- feat. Mercedes Martinez
Lost Desire- feat. Talib Kweli and Malik B
The Show- feat. Common
Rising Up- feat. Chrisette Michelle and Wale
Birthday Girl- feat. Patrick Stump
The Roots recently returned from Southeast Asia and have confirmed a slew of US tour dates this year including several festivals and universities. Dates confirmed include:
29- Millikin University- Decatur, IL
30- Kool Haus- Toronto, ON
5- University of Texas- Austin, TX
7- Indiana University- Bloomington, IN
9- Higher Ground- Burlington, VT
11- Pickle Barrel- Killington, VT
12- Northeastern University- Boston, MA
16- Purdue University- West Lafayette, IN
17- Carnegie Mellon University- Pittsburgh, PA
18- Webster University- St. Louis, MO
20- Green Apple Festival- Washington, DC
23- Duke University- Durham, NC
24- The Music Farm- Charleston, SC
25- Amos- Charlotte, NC
26- Tigerfest Towson University- Towson, MD
3- Jazz & Heritage Festival- New Orleans, LA
4- House of Blues- New Orleans, LA
8- All Points West- Jersey City, NJ
* all dates subject to change