Roots Festival with The Roots
The Roots, also known as The Legendary Roots Crew, The Square Roots and The Foundation, are an influential, Grammy winning hip hop group based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, famed for a heavily jazzy sound and live instrumentation. Inspired by the “hip-hop band” concept pioneered by Stetsasonic, the Roots themselves have garnered critical acclaim and influenced later hip-hop and R&B acts.
The Roots’ original lineup included Black Thought (MC vocals) and Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson (drums), who were classmates at the Philadelphia High School for Creative Performing Arts. As they began to play at school and on the streets, they added another MC named Malik B., bassist Leonard Hubbardand keyboardist Scott Storch. Another MC, Dice Raw, frequently made album appearances with the group from 1995 to 1999 before leaving to record a solo album. Scott Storch also left to pursue career as a producer following the Do You Want More?!!!??! album, He produced songs such as Still D.R.E. by Dr Dre. The Roots filled his void with another keyboardist, Kamal who is still a member. A beatboxer named Rahzel also joined the group and contributed from 1995-1999. Alongside Rahzel was vocal turntablist, Scratch who greatly contributed to The Roots’ sound, most notably in live concerts. He left the group in 2003. Malik B. left the group in 2000. A guitarist, Ben Kenney, enjoyed a short stint with the group and contributed to their Phrenology album, but left to join Incubus. A percussionist, Knuckles, was added in 2002 and guitarist, Kirk Douglas (a.k.a. “Captain Kirk”) repleaced Kenney. A vocalist, Martin Luther toured with The Roots in 2003 and 2004 and contributed to their album The Tipping Point. The current members of The Roots are Black Thought (MC vocals), ?uestlove (drums), Hub (bass), Kamal (keyboard), Knuckles (percussion), and Captain Kirk (guitar).