Music » Livewire

The Roots

With 311. Monday, July 19, at Tower City Amphitheater.


More than just a band, the Roots have consistently lived up to their name during a decade-long career, spreading their tendrils throughout the hip-hop community to link seemingly disparate artists. Before Kanye West became the most celebrated bridge between the music's over- and underground, these Philadelphians, led by drummer Amir "?uestlove" Thompson, went from alt-rap pioneers to being Jay-Z's backing group without losing an ounce of cred. Closer to home, the Roots were instrumental in linking various Philly artists under the "Soulquarians" banner in the mid-'90s, and their website has become home for many like-minded performers.

Their previous album, 2002's Phrenology, bravely shoved hip-hop into an uncertain future full of Hendrix-style licks and drum & bass rhythms; their latest, The Tipping Point, is a return to roots, so to speak, channeling the spirit of Big Daddy Kane into songs that celebrate the unadulterated glory of beats and Black Thought's rhymes. Always a concert powerhouse, the band is touring this summer with rap-rock-raga veterans 311, whose live sets supporting their new greatest-hits album have included covers of work by punky reggae forefathers like Bad Brains and The Clash, as well as a blunt-edged version of the Cure's 1989 hit "Love Song."

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.