Friday, June 5, 2009

Maybe Nas Was Right

Until a couple of nights ago, I had never actually seen Late Night with Jimmy Fallon with my own two baby browns. I had only heard that my band aka The Roots were providing tha music, and I thought it could be a tragic disaster... or possibly tha coolest thing to ever happen to white insomniacs all over tha country. I wasn't all tha way with it, but admittedly I wasn't 100% opposed, acknowledging that them bruthas are gettin old, touring ain't necessarily tha life, and yet, bills are constant and demand payment.

Fast forward to Monday night. I watched in horror as The Roots did a bit called "Slow Jam the News", where Black Thought (who, I say is one of tha illest, most underrated emcees EVER! Step up and debate me on this! I will Batman your ass!) sang about California's budget crisis (ugh!) while Jimmy Fallon interjected in a supposedly sultry tone with innuendo laden "humor"... none of which was funny. And all night, he kept referring to Questlove and Black Thought as "Amir" and "Tariq". I know those are their actual names, and maybe I'm just being sensitive because of my deep and abiding love for The Roots, but it felt a little disrespectful. When Jimmy Fallon or any of tha guests would refer to The Roots, it always felt slightly patronizing. Of course, I can't really give a lot of details about tha episode I watched nor am I really qualified to critique it, since at about 10 minutes into tha show I started booing loudly, throwing anything within arm's reach at tha TV, and frantically tweeting and texting about how much I hated whut I was seeing.

I know, I know. You don't have to tell me. As long as those of us who love Hip Hop are still alive, Hip Hop lives...yeah. I got that. However, you must understand... tha past few years have been a little too much for my fragile (though enduring) spirit to take. First, Lil Wayne proclaims himself to be "The Greatest Rapper Alive" (when plenty of other rappers that are clearly better than him ain't laid down in their graves yet) and, to my shock and great dismay, people who are not hearing impaired agree. Then, whut I personally consider to be the greatest collective sonic force in tha Hip Hop genre, The Roots, end up as a corny house band on a bland ass late night talk show. Maybe it's a bit of a stretch to say that Hip Hop is dead, but if it isn't yet, surely it's on it's way.


  1. This is me not disagreeing with you. I DO NOT HEART JIMMY FALLON...he is wack. I gave the show a few minutes a couple of times and his energy is like styrofoam.

  2. brutal! i agree that the fallon show is mediocre on a good night, and generally terrible, BUT the Roots are the one redeemable beacon of shining light on those airwaves. try to stomache a bit more, the Roots are really get to stratch and displa their insae breadth of musical knowledge and are hilarious at times!

  3. *sigh*...Dani...I will TRY, cause Lord knos, I do so love The Roots. Jai, you couldn't hav said it better. STYROFOAM. That's exactly whut Jimmy Fallon is like. And whut's sad is that I actually kinda liked him on SNL. I don't kno whut happened. Its all quite disappointing.

  4. i was just having a conversation about this with my mans just last night. i was telling him how a person asked if there was anything new he should check out. [new as in new artist] and i told the person...i'm really closed minded on music as of late and no new hiphop artist has really impressed me. then me and my mans came to the conclusion that the last person we sorta agreed to as being dope was lupe fiasco...and when did he come out back in like 2005 or something like from then to now i can't say i'm really impressed...
    now on to the roots being on the jimmy fallon show...I LOVE ME SOME ROOTS. now i still haven't seen an i won't talk any kind of bad about it...i'm just happy for the roots.

  5. Danielle's right. The Jimmy fallon Show suffers alot as a result of Jimmy Fallon being...well, WACK. And also not funny. But the Roots are the one redeeming thing about the show.

    Seeing what inside-joke walk out music they'll play for the guest on any given night (think Electric Relaxation for the Wayans Brothers or Lupe's Kick/Push for world champion skater Tony Hawk, for example) is almost worth tuning in for alone.

    The Roots also tend to be the house band for whatever hip hop guests might appear on the show. The Public Enemy performance of Bring the Noise was life-alteringly good. The Ludacris perfomance...not so much, but it was better than it would have been if he'd just used a dj.

    There's also a recurring segment where Fallon goes into the audience and asks them a few personal questions and then has the Roots freestyle a song in a particular genre about the info they just recieved.

    So, for example, one of the better ones they did was Jenny from Ithica, NY, whose favorite color is orange, favorite food is pizza w/ just cheese, and lost her virginity in the laundry room of her college dorm. And the Roots had to do the song in the genre of a Paul Simon song (sometimes it's new jack swing, sometimes reggae, sometimes doo-wop, grunge or 80s era Sugarhill rap. This time the genre was Paul Simon). So ON THE SPOT, they did the song about Jenny from Ithica to the tune of Call Me Al.

    I'm sorry. That's dope as hell to me. This is a fantastic utilization of the Roots' musical talents in my personal opinion. And no other band in late night television is doing anything near as ambitious.

    As for the Slow Jammin' The News: You musta caught 'em on a bad night. That shit is usually funny as hell... If you're just opposed to it solely on the merits of Thought suddenly being on some rapper-turnt-sanga type steez, to that I say, if it's good enough for Phontigallo, why not Black Thought?

    Bottom line: There are many things to hate on about the Jimmy Fallon show. The Roots being on there is not one of them.