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The Roots

Embracing Change

Roots Onstage, The Roots are a whirlwind of energy. The members of the veteran hip-hop group march back and forth, chase each other around, intersperse their songs with blasting covers of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” and Kool & The Gang’s “Jungle Boogie” and jump into the crowd while still playing their instruments. You’d never guess that middle age was weighing on their minds.

And yet the overarching theme of the band’s ninth studio album, How I Got Over, is how to face a turning point in life.

"It’s a very risky thing to embrace elder statesmanship in such a youth-obsessed culture," says drummer, producer and band spokesman Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, who founded the group with Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter in the late ’80s. There’s nary a grey hair in ?uestlove’s mushroom-cloud afro (into which he stuffed a world record 101 afro picks last year), and he’s always ready with an offbeat quip. But at 39, he’s taking stock of his life. Lounging in the Toronto Jazz Festival’s media tent prior to a sold-out show, he ruminates on the personal significance of the album’s title.

— Story continues at CBC.ca


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