Latest Articles


Good Fela! beats Nigerian drum

Riddle this: what's more unlikely than the fact that the current toast of Broadway is a musical about a Nigerian agitprop pop singer, or that it owes its existence to a Caucasian commodities trader from New England?
Boston and Broadway
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  December 11, 2009

Taking care of business

Boston is one of the healthiest markets for live roots music in the country. Here are the 10 roots shows we don't want to miss this fall.
Digging for gold in the roots and world-music scene
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  September 18, 2009

The Funn(k)y Drummer

Johnny Carson was revered for his impeccable comic timing. It was "so precise," wrote one newspaper in his obituary, "that we wouldn't be surprised to find buried in his skull a quartz crystal." And why might that be? Perhaps because Johnny Carson was a
What's the connection between comedy and percussion?
By MIKE MILIARD  |  August 14, 2009
While U Were Asleep, @QuestLove Made Philip Michael Thomas Dope (And Twittered It) (And YouTubed It)

While U Were Asleep, @QuestLove Made Philip Michael Thomas Dope (And Twittered It) (And YouTubed It)

About five hours ago -- we presume post-Fallon taping -- Questo tweeted that he was locked down in the studio "trying a dilla move in...
By Carly Carioli  |  July 10, 2009

They get ill

Jocko Henderson, Lady B, Schoolly D, Jazzy Jeff, and The Roots
Five Philly rap essentials
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  May 29, 2009

Magic man

If the first quarter of '09 is an indicator of things to come for Theo Martins the Providence-based lyricist had better buckle up for what should be the biggest year in his budding hip-hop career.
Theo Martins kills 'em with kindness
By CHRIS CONTI  |  April 17, 2009

Cursebird: Who the fuck has Twitter's dirtiest mouth?

 Once again proving that the innernets are dragging down the level of discourse in this godfors...
By Carly Carioli  |  February 10, 2009

An abridged history of the Roots' collabs

Tangled up
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  January 20, 2009

The making of the Roots-versus-Antibalas Sound Clash

We're not previewing the Red Bull Sound Clash just because the buzz-beverage overlords supply Phoenix headquarters with enough voltage to paralyze a petting zoo.
How ?uest got his groove back
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  January 20, 2009

Al Green

The Reverend Green gets his sexy groove back after the three uneven releases that followed his 2003 secular comeback.
Lay It Down | Blue Note
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  June 03, 2008

The Roots | Rising Down

Def Jam
By RICHARD BECK  |  May 12, 2008


Chairmen of the boards

Not unlike Swedish, Tagalog, and Esperanto, music is a language, with its own conjugations and (lewdly) dangling participles.
Our critics pick the 14 producers with the fattest, meanest beats
By PHOENIX MUSIC STAFF  |  October 18, 2007

Working girls

Northern State’s YouTube video for “Better Already” is a thing of low-budget beauty.
Northern State keep their raps real
By IAN SANDS  |  August 14, 2007

Discovering Dilla

As with so many other figures in pop music, death has been good to hip-hop producer and MC J Dilla.
A posthumous look at a hip-hop great
By RICHARD BECK  |  April 09, 2007

Keepin' it real

As I was walking up to Avalon a week ago Tuesday to see the Roots, a group of college kids crossed the street in front of me sporting backwards hats and puffy vests.
The Roots, Avalon, March 13, 2007
By MATTHEW GASTEIER  |  March 19, 2007

Hip-hop history

“The thing that’s most gratifying to me is that the artists themselves like it and respect it, ’cause I’m trying to tell their story,” says Brian Coleman.
Boston author to drop another canonical tome
By DAVID DAY  |  March 13, 2007


Soul Touch army

Today’s funk and soul DJ is either an imitator or an innovator. Cosmo Baker, ".45 Caliber Funk Volume 1" (mp3)
Our funk music collective calls on Cosmo Baker
By DAVID DAY  |  January 02, 2007

No success like failure

The wild, idle guessing game over the Roots’ Game Theory and OutKast’s Idlewild is finished.
The Roots and OutKast step into the future
By FRANKLIN SOULTS  |  October 03, 2006

On the racks: August 29, 2006

. . . plus Method Man, Motorhead, and Pete Yorn
Tego Calderon, Bob Dylan, Ray LaMontagne . . .
By MATT ASHARE  |  August 30, 2006

Bubbling under

Ahmir Khalib Thompson, ?UESTLOVE to his fans, is one of the most accomplished drummers in pop music, but he’s also a deft DJ with a selection that will take your breath away. Red Bull Music Academy lecture session with ?uestlove (podcast mp3)
DJ ?uestlove; plus Dan Alcala on the grind, and DJ Nomadik
By DAVID DAY  |  August 08, 2006