Review Summary: Enter the realm of live Hip Hop here.
Picture yourself for a moment, walking inside of an underground blues club. The atmosphere is drenched in the smoky/teary-eyed aromas of lit cigarettes and freshly brewed coffee. Round tables sit in front of a stage which if it wanted to, could fit at least a six member band. You take a seat this day to listen to not only good music, but also good poetry. After a few minutes, a band takes the stage which is announced to be the main attraction but looks to be just another jazz band. The drummer rocks an afro that is so big that it looks cartoonish with a pick sticking out of it. The bass player has a blunt sticking out of his mouth which seems to almost be of one with him and looks to chew it more than actually smoke it (similar to a stereotypical American sergeant). The person, who finally takes on the lead microphone, doesn’t look to be a singer in the slightest but instead a working poet. His looks are no less scruffy than the other members with a Kangol hat on top of his head. He introduces the band who many today know as The Roots and announces that they will be there all night playing music off of one of their albums. People in the audience applaud either in excitement or support while the band starts to play music shortly afterwards. The experience of this moment and the album that Black Thought (the main rapper of The Roots) has announced to play, is Do You Want More?!!!??!
It’s surprising to see that in Hip-Hop music even to this day, feature few uses of raw instrumentation. Computer and sampling programs can only be dependent upon so much until it starts to sound processed and stale. To hear a Hip Hop album that uses actual drums, keyboards, and bass guitars, is refreshing to say the least. Questlove’s drumming while not being the most technical and complex, fits perfectly with the mood and flow of the band’s overall sound. If he was part of a band which would be almost expected to require drum skills of a higher level, he would probably receive more criticism for his skills but since he’s in this particular Hip Hop band, he instead brings a more straightforward sound with them. In support of Questlove, the other remaining members of the band at the time of this album’s release were no fewer experts at bringing styles of their own. Scott Storch who would later receive success of his own for his own production, brings smooth and subtle hints of keys that work well. Rather than having him bash on the keyboard to outshine the rest of the band, he showcases the right amount of sounds that are never really hard to catch with the first couple of listens.This all equals to a quality of music that most popular bands wish they could possess. Charisma oozes from every track with switchbacks from rapper to band running so smoothly that it almost seems as if The Roots were a formed Voltron.
With that said, Black Thought who takes lead of the band for the most part, is one hell of a lead rapper. Lyrically, he is non-stop with his metaphors and topics but for the most part, never backs down on anything that he has to say. To sum up how most of the rapping is on this album, it would be thought provoking *** talk. Songs like Proceed, Mellow My Man, and I Remain Calm showcase his rapping skills at the time of the album but if there was one flaw with Do You Want More?!!!??!, ironically enough, it would actually be the rapping. It’s not that the rapping is bad by any means (far from it) but some verses that come from it are not of ace quality. After Do You Want More?!!!??!, improvements upon Black Thought as a rapper would be noticed but on here at times, it doesn’t feel like it gives the listeners that extra punch like the brilliant music already does. Then again, that in itself also results to being another positive aspect because in the end, it gives the album a sense of realism in that even though some of the lyrics may not shine, it overall helps give the listener an experience that makes them feel as if they were actually at a
Songwriting as a whole though doesn’t deteriorate from the weaknesses that some of the overall rhymes may have though. You Ain’t Fly, Lazy Afternoon, and Silent Treatment give the listener mellow choruses which only add to the quality and helps the rapping improve with on-point concepts. As if the album wasn’t already different enough though, there are also songs that don’t rely on Black Thought’s rapping, but instead, shows off the band’s skills. These songs: ? vs. Rahzel and Essaywhuman?!!!??!, are placed at spots on the album to almost make it feel as if they were played during the time where the audience at the blues club would take a short break like asking for more coffee or going to the bathroom. Never is there a dull song or really, any hint of filler because what The Roots have created here, is not only an exceptional Hip Hop album, but an album that is fearless of taking
The Roots remain to be not only one of the few respected Hip Hop bands ever, but also an exceptional band throughout the music scene as a whole. Later albums would show improvements upon everybody and the band would continue to release strong products. It’s surprising to see that this album doesn’t get as much attention as other albums because it has all the ingredients of a memorable one. With an atmosphere that only some handfuls of musicians can succeed in and originality that isn’t only enlightening but also influential, The Roots have created something that should not be missed by any music listener.