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The Roots

The Roots are an influential Philadelphia-based alternative hip hop crew, known for uplifting lyrics and live instrumentation. Originally composed of Black Thought (rapper) and ?uestlove (drummer), The Roots soon added Malik B. Moving (rapper) and Hub (bassist) and earned themselves a respectable fanbase in Philadelphia. Their debut album, Organix, was released on Remedy Records. With significant hype, The Roots soon signed to DGC and released their major label debut, Do You Want More in 1995 (see 1995 in music).

Do You Want More?!!!??! included no samples and was recorded live; sales were slim among mainstream audiences, though it was very popular among devoted hip hop fans and some alternative rock audiences. Preceeded by the moderate hit "Clones", 1996's Illadelph Halflife (1996, 1996 in music) included some samples but still did not sell well.

In 1999 (see 1999 in music) The Roots' Things Fall Apart (named after Things Fall Apart, a novel by Chinua Achebe) was a breakthrough commercial and critical success which made it on many best-of lists for the year. Though The Roots' were no superstars, they vastly expanded their fanbase, leading to high hopes for their follow-up, the long-awaited Phrenology, released in 2002 (see 2002 in music), which was similarly acclaimed, though sold somewhat less than Things Fall Apart.