In the liner notes for Tipping Point, ?uestlove talks about how a woman approached him while he was grocery shopping, and implored him to cover “Everybody Is a Star” by Sly & The Family Stone. Judging by the quality of the song that resulted (high) and the quality of the album it came from (medium), maybe The Roots should’ve had that random lady hang out in the studio and just tell them what to do. Regardless, the song is just about the perfect pairing of sample and live instrumentation, one that the band repeated on the title track of their most recent album Game Theory. There are only a couple figures in hip-hop that do stuff approaching a legit ‘cover’ song. The Roots have one advantage over other hip-hop groups, in that they play instruments (other than turntables).
It makes sense that ?uestlove and the rest of the Roots crew would go back to the Sly well for more inspiration and source material. Both bands have been plagued by drug addiction, both bands were revolutionary in their chosen genres. But more than anything, both bands balance good-time music with the serious stuff, while on the same record managing to be funky as all hell. You can tell from their versions how much The Roots care for the songs they use, especially on “Game Theory.” Listen to when the drums and organ really kick in at the beginning of the first verse, and just try to tell me The Roots aren’t having a good time jamming on some Sly.
The Roots – Star/Pointro (Buy It) Sly & The Family Stone – Everybody Is a Star (Buy It) The Roots – Game Theory (with Malik B) (Buy It) Sly & The Family Stone – Life of Fortune and Fame (Buy S&TFS music)
Oh, and stop by Contributor Matt’s blog page Post-Haste Taste for a mouthwatering food-themed guest post by yours truly. If you like music related to food, this is truly the mix for you.
posted by Adam