The Roots

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The Roots
The Roots performing in 2016
The Roots performing in 2016
Background information
Also known asThe Legendary Roots Crew
The Fifth Dynasty
The Square Roots
OriginPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Years active1987 (1987)–present

The Roots is an American hip hop band. It was formed in 1987 by Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter and Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 2014, the Roots became the house band on NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. They were also the house band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon from 2009 to 2014.

The band is one of the few hip hop groups to use mostly live instruments instead of sampling and to produce electronically. They have released several albums that are very popular within the genre. Things Fall Apart is considered by many[who?] to be their best.

Band members[change | change source]

Current members

  • Black Thought – rap and singing vocals (1987–present)
  • Questlove – drums, backing rap vocals, beatboxing (1987–present)
  • Kamal Gray – keyboards, backing rap vocals (1994–present)
  • Captain Kirk Douglas – guitars, singing vocals (2003–present)
  • Tuba Gooding, Jr. (Damon Bryson) – sousaphone, tuba (2007–present)
  • James Poyser – keyboards (2009–present)
  • Ray Angry – keyboards (2010–present)
  • Mark Kelley – bass, synthesizer bass, moog (2011–present)
  • Ian Hendrickson-Smith – flutes, saxophones (2015–present)
  • Dave Guy – trumpet (2015–present)
  • Stro Elliot – beatbox, percussion, sampling, tambourine, Ableton, HandSonic, SPD-SX, finger drumming, keyboards (2017–present)
  • Jeremy Ellis – beatbox, sampling, Maschine, Arcade machine sampler, midi fighter, finger drumming (2014–present)

Former members

Awards and nominations[change | change source]

Grammy Awards[change | change source]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2000 "You Got Me" (with Erykah Badu)[6] Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group Won
Things Fall Apart Best Rap Album Nominated
2004 Phrenology Nominated
2005 "Star" Best Urban/Alternative Performance Nominated
"Don't Say Nuthin'" Best Rap Performance By a Duo/Group Nominated
2007 "Don't Feel Right" (featuring Maimouna Youssef) Nominated
Game Theory Best Rap Album Nominated
2011 "Hang On in There" (with John Legend) Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance Won
Wake Up! (with John Legend) Best R&B Album Won
"Shine" (with John Legend) Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals Nominated
"Wake Up Everybody" (with John Legend, Melanie Fiona & Common) Best Rap/Sung Collaboration Nominated
How I Got Over Best Rap Album Nominated
2012 "Surrender" (with Betty Wright) Best Traditional R&B Performance Nominated
2013 Undun Best Rap Album Nominated

MTV Video Music Awards[change | change source]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2003 The Seed 2.0 MTV2 Award Nominated

mtvU Woodie Awards[change | change source]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2004 The Roots Road Woodie Nominated
Welcome Back Woodie Nominated[7]

BET Awards[change | change source]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2005 The Roots Best Group Nominated
2009 The Roots Best Group Nominated

NAACP Image Awards[change | change source]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2005 The Roots Outstanding Duo or Group Nominated
2007 The Roots Outstanding Duo or Group Won[8]
2011 Wake Up! Outstanding Collaboration Won[9]
Outstanding Album Won[9]

Discography[change | change source]

Studio albums

References[change | change source]

  1. Bush, John (n.d.). "The Roots: Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  2. Patrin, Nate (June 25, 2010). "The Roots: How I Got Over Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  3. Nieman, Carrie. "Digging the Roots". Style Weekly. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
  4. Gross, Jason (May 10, 2006). "The Roots: They're a (funky) American band". Creative Loafing Charlotte. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  5. Lewis, Miles Marshall (August 9, 2007). "Common". Dallas Observer. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  6. "Past Winners Search". Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  7. "mtvU Woodie Awards 2004". Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  8. "38th annual NAACP Image Awards winners". Associated Press. March 3, 2007. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Kuperstein, Slava (March 6, 2011). "Ice Cube, LL Cool J, The Roots Win NAACP Image Awards". Retrieved January 27, 2014.