You get to school, your chest heaving when you look down and realize that you're only wearing your underwear and everyone is laughing at you. You look up and a banner across Viking commons informs you that The Roots are playing on campus—but that's no dream. It's really happening! Yes, pinch yourself because at 7:30 p.m. March 1 in Carver Gym the Roots are playing with openers Sweatshop Union and Surge Spittable.
The Roots are a Philadelphia-based hip hop group famed for a heavily jazzy sound and live instrumentation. Inspired by the “hip hop band” concept pioneered by Stesasonic, the Roots themselves have garnered critical acclaim and influenced later hip hop and R&B acts.
The Roots have been nominated for five Grammy Awards, the last for Best Rap Album in 2007.
Their last album release was “Game Theory” in 2006 which hit number 9 on the charts and sold 300,000 copies.
“The hip hop that's allowed to reach the mainstream is only one certain type of hip hop, and there's the danger of the minstrelsy of it,” ?uestlove said in a 2006 Rolling Stone Magazine interview.
“The more one-dimensional, character-driven hip hop is what seems to be driving the big bucks—because people want a show. Like, Eminem's the crazy white-trash man who hates his mommy; 50 Cent got shot nine times; Jay-Z is a bad drug dealer gone good,” ?uestlove said.
“I think Black Thought [the lead singer of the Root] is a really intelligent MC The Roots aren't misogynistic or all about the money,” Cuellar said.
When the Roots were announced the reaction of students could be read all over the Internet with wall posts on Facebook that are best described as incredulous. One poster wrote:
“How the hell did the ASP Pop guys get The Roots?! I have to admit, I was impressed with Aesop [Rock], but this is unfathomable. Someone is sleeping with executives or something. I gotta go get my tickets now!”
Students shouldn't be surprised ASP Pop Music has a history of bringing great acts to campus including Ben Kweller, The Faint, Ratatat, Neko Case, Matt Costa, Rocky Votalato, Andrew Bird and Citizen Cope. But how exactly did ASP Pop get such a notorious act to play on campus?
“We have been planning the show for a really long time and have definitely had ups and downs, said Victor Cuellar assistant coordinator of ASP Pop Music. “But, finally the stars aligned.”
This is the first show since 1999 that has been held in Carver Gym, Cuellar said.
“The last time we were there was a big problem with smoking in the venue and that is why it's been so long since we used that venue,” Cuellar said. “Which is a shame because it can hold so many more people than the MPR and PAC Mainstage and with that venue at our disposal we can put on much bigger events and larger names that everyone can go to.”
Opening for The Roots include Sweatshop Union and Surge Spittable, who received the best hip hop artist of the year by What's Up! Magazine.
A Sexual Health Awareness Workshop will occur at 1 p.m. the day of the concert and include a movie showing and a discussion on Sexual Health.
Many Resource and Outreach Programs offices are helping out with this event both financially and by raising HIV awareness. The Sexual Awareness Center, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Alliance and VOX will be tabling before the concert in Carver Gym.
Tickets are available at the PAC Box Office and are $20 for Western students with ID and $35 for general admission.