SPW Gets Back to Its Roots

Kristen Turiano

The Roots, a Grammy award-winning rap group, will perform at Colgate over Spring Party Weekend (SPW). The concert will take place on Whitnall Field at 2:00 p.m. on April 28. Sponsored by CAB Music, the concert is free and open to all students.

Formed in 1989, The Roots began as an underground act that played Philadelphia and New York. By 1993, the group was asked to represent stateside hip-hop at a concert in Germany. They recorded their first album, Organix, to sell at the show.

Since the beginning, The Roots have been unconventional, often choosing artistry over industry protocol.

Unlike typical hip-hop performers, they produced their first major-label album, Do You Want More?!!!??!, without any samples or previously recorded material. As a result, the album was received better by alternative circles than by fans of hip-hop.

The group’s most successful album, 1999’s Things Fall Apart, was named after the Chinua Achebe novel. They won the 1999 Grammy award for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group for “You Got Me” from that album.

Refusing to go mainstream, The Roots once again chose to pursue its own style with its latest album, Game Theory, even if it meant lower record sales. Drummer Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson called the album “melancholy and emotional and moody.”

Game Theory sold only 113,000 copies in its first week, but the group was not discouraged by the marketplace response.

“We knew this album was going to have as much to do with the marketplace as Barbra Streisand on the soul charts,” Thompson said. “But the way I look at it, this is definitely a return to form for us. Critics say we got our mojo back and our fan base agreed. That’s all we were concerned about.”

CAB organizers Doug Collins and Ryan Quick are confident that the Roots will outdo previous SPW performers.

“The past few years, Spring Party Weekend has been lacking, so bringing a big act like The Roots was important.”

In past years, it had proven difficult to secure the right performer.

“After the 50 Cent fiasco two years ago, we’re excited to say that The Roots are definitely coming,” Collins and Quick said.