"Dedicated To The Winners & The Losers..." - Raekwon

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

UGK - UGK 4 Life: Review


The one aspect of posthumous albums that are usually more true than any other aspect of their existence is that they are more of a testament to the leeching, sycophantic nature of those the artist has left behind than a true reflection of the artist’s greatness. Other than perhaps Tupac Shakur’s “Makaveli – The 7 Day Theory” and Big L’s “The Big Picture”, the vast majority of posthumous releases reek of cheap exploitation and are testament to the greed of those that surrounded the rapper. Dead rappers might get better promotion but they also find themselves victim to the artistic necrophilia of those who were closest to them. Puffy’s shameless raping of Biggie’s corpse has produced few highlights and tons of ignominious failures while Afeni Shakur has done her best to destroy her son’s legacy with an endless parade of mediocre, patched together albums turning her son from revolutionary to a cheap global brand. Even the best of these works often are simply tossed off odds and ends from other recordings while the worst are horrific Frankenstein creations pieced together from old verses and “collaborations” from artists the deceased would have never worked with had they lived. It’s a gross and disgusting practice that highlights the worst of the industry. Perhaps, it’s a tribute then to Bun B’s brotherly love for his partner-in-rhyme, Pimp C, that “UGK 4 Life” comes across as a legitimate UGK album and not a post-death exploitative abortion.

If 2007’s “Underground Kingz” was a sprawling, exploratory double album designed to highlight UGK’s vast versatility as artists, “UGK 4 Life” is a return to Bun B’s and Pimp C’s roots as the album is their tightest and most focused since 1996’s seminal classic, “Ridin’ Dirty.” The album mines the time-tested UGK formula of slow, grooving funk chords, Pimp’s southern-fried nasally choruses, tongue-twisting sex raps and hazy odes to the finer herbs to great rewards. The albums sound cohesive and fleshed out delving into the meat of the UGK brand which should make UGK loyalists extremely happy, a feat that often eludes posthumous releases like Dwayne Carter Jr. avoids similes beyond a third grade comprehension.

The album is right in the group’s wheelhouse and part of what it makes such a great listen is that the album miraculously seems contemporary and manages to avoid cheap nostalgia and tired “I’ll Be Missing You” tropes that an album like this might normally demand. The album seems keen to avoid the obvious fact that Pimp C is no longer with us and other than the ghostly invocation on the intro of Pimp C declaring UGK to be “back from the dead” (Seriously?! Do famous rappers just record these type of creepy statements in bulk, just in case, they wanna pull a Lazarus on wax after their unfortunate death? I don’t want to seem insensitive but damn...) and a Snoop Dogg “Rest In Peace” shout-out, you wouldn’t know that one of it’s chief architects had passed away in the process of recording the album. In fact, Pimp C is the dominant presence on the album. Pimp brings his trademark scatological charm to the proceedings in full force and at times, it feels Bun is a spectator on his own album. This isn’t a weakness. This might be Pimp C’s finest lyrical performance of his career and Bun B is wise enough to get out of Pimp’s way considering this will ostensibly be the last original verses we will ever hear from Chad Butler in our lives. Bun is savvy enough to realize that this is Pimp’s swan song so out-shining him on the last record would be in bad taste. I had figured that since Pimp died in the midst of this album’s production that “UGK 4 Life” would be a de-facto Bun B solo album with a few extraneous Pimp C verses tacked on so the opposite proving true only adds to the album’s overall enjoyment as well as adding a potent poignancy to the record.

That’s not to say the album is perfect because it’s not and while Pimp C’s voice is dominant what it probably lacks is his song-writing. While Bun B has always been considered the vastly superior rapper of the two, Pimp has always been the group’s chief producer and song-writer. Bun has always given credit to him as the group’s artistic leader and without his guidance the album manages to lack a little bit. While the album is overwhelmingly enjoyable, it’s lacking in a show-stopping centerpiece song like earlier UGK classics like “One Day”, “Pocket Full OF Stones” or “International Player’s Anthem” to push the album from merely really good territory to instant classic status. All of the songs cook (even the maligned Akon collabo “Hard As Hell”) but the album seems purposely understated and it lacks perhaps the balls-out panache that made “Underground Kingz” so successful. Where the former seemed to consciously be an attempt to craft a sprawling epic to perhaps make up for lost time between previous albums due to Pimp’s gun incarceration, “UGK 4 Life” seems to be primarily obsessed with not just sex but the gross, icky side of sex. The side that nobody told you about when you were watching Sex Ed videos in health class. Songs like “Harry Asshole”, “Feelin’ You”, and “She Luv It” seem to revel in the scatological and grosser details of sex. Pimp seems obsessed with describing his sexual contests in graphic detail such as noting the hair on a woman's ass to endlessly comparing oral sex to food.

Ultimately, this album as a fitting swan song to the UGK legacy and it would be my hope that this is the last album to come out under the UGK banner. Public figures rarely get the proper send-off and even when they do, they are often tempted to comeback for one last hurrah in the limelight. The last image, the public should have remembered about Michael Jordan, should have been his jumper over Byron Russell to win the 1998 NBA Finals and not have been him wrapped in Wizards jersey sadly fighting a losing battle with his dying athleticism. Hopefully, Bun B is smart enough to realize that you can’t rape your friend’s image if you ever really cared about them. You honor your friends by letting them rest in dignity and remember that one day you’re here baby and the next day you’re...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

How To Be A Complete Artistic Cipher On Your Own Album - Jim Jones - Pray IV Reign: Review

"Shockingly, this record did not want to make me join a cult and drink cyanide-laced Kool-aid!"

On “Pop Champagne”, Rob Browz spends the first 1 minute and 10 seconds of the song crooning and auto-tuning the track into a high fever pitch crescendo before taking the song to the verge of Timbaland-level hip pop transcendence... and then Jim Jones’ voice ignominiously appears over the beat and it all comes to a sudden, crashing halt. It’s a testament to Browz’ ability as a producer and Juelz Santana’s deliriously charming stupidity that “Pop Champagne” turns out to be a fairly fun, goofy little track in spite of Jones’ inherent weed carrying wackness sucking out all of the first minute of the song’s goofy, auto-tuned transcendence. It’s a song that manages to work despite the apparent artist’s complete non-contribution to the proceedings. IfJim Jones were to pull a DJ Khaled on the track and simply add his name while screaming all over the intro, this song would undoubtedly be a much better song. If we extrapolate this lesson we have learned from this song and apply it to Jim Jones’ new album, “Pray IV Reign”, you have a pretty good idea about the quality of the album. To be overt, “Pray IV Reign” is pretty good but it has absolutely nothing to do with Jim Jones. He actively does his best to make a pretty, immaculately produced album suck.

Jim Jones should not have a rap career. It’s a force of fate that Joseph Guillermo Jones happened to use to sell weed to Cameron Giles in the tenth grade (One would assume...) and because of this, Jim Jones has managed to weasel his way into a fairly, succesful musical career. Jim Jones is a terrible rapper and not in the sense that Melachi The Nutcracker is a terrible rapper. Melachi The Nutcracker is a terrible rapper because he’s not very good at the actual act of rapping and thus, his music is inherently limited. Jim Jones can’t rap very well either but Jim Jones is a terrible rapper because he‘s never met a cliche that he didn’t want to make sweet passionate love to. Jim Jones has never had an original idea in his life and every single song on “Pray IV Reign” is naked bite of songs that have long moved into the dreaded cliche zone. In some sense, he’s the spiritual child of The Game and Young Jeezy combining their worst, most ingratiating traits (with none of their charm and/or talent) into one Uber-Wack Rapper of Suck.

In some sense, Jim Jones is a metaphor for everything that is wrong with the modern rap music industry. In the Golden-era of Hip Hop, rap music was, more or less, a meritocracy. If you were dope, you got put on and you sold records. That’s how it worked. These days, all that is required to be a rapper is to be childhood friends of an already famous rapper and with minimal qualification and/or talent, you can parlay your relationship into a “successful” rap career. Now, originally, this isn’t necessarily a bad idea as the massive success of the Wu-Tang Clan and it’s ever-expanding collective have proven but over the years as standards and taste declined amongst rap fans, more and more, people began to think it was acceptable to let your personal chef spit a verse on your album; thus contributing to a spiral of wacker and wacker weed carriers getting record deals. Jim Jones is the logical extension of that mentality. A man with no discernible talent except for wanton self-promotion gets to become one of the biggest rap stars on the planet simply because he had a childhood friendship with Cam’ron. He’s literally an artistic cipher on his own record album but nevertheless, people love him (or tolerate him at minimum).

Which brings us back to “Pray IV Reign”, an album that works despite the artistic additions of it’s ostensible creator. The music is immaculately produced, the virtual unending parade of guest artists are unquestionably the highlights, and the MVP of the record, producer/singer Rob Browz, can be best described as a bootleg T-Pain. It’s an album that should fail in spectacular (and hilarious) fashion but it doesn’t seemingly in spite of its’ creator’s best efforts. The only thing that I can attribute to the record’s success is Dame Dash’s efforts as an executive producer on this record. Dame Dash, for all his legendary douchebaggery, is a man that simply knows how to put together a great record. He’s helped Cam’ron shape himself from fledgling Big L clone to a cult hip hop icon, discovered Kanye West, and it should come to no surprise (but will to those who worship Shawn Carter’s testicles) that Jay-Z hasn’t made a great album or even any transcendent singles since Dame Dash left Rocafella Records in the wake of their massive pissing contest somewhere around the year 2005. Dame Dash’s presence as an executive producer no doubt influenced Jim Jones’ decision on the record to eschew the tried and true Dipset formula of his early, shittier records and go for a more pop, club-friendly auto-tuned R&B filled affair. This decision is ultimately why the record works. The record is loaded with R&B singers carrying the hooks, and the production is carried by producers who primarily work with R&B singers like Ryan Leslie, Chink Santana, Polow Da Don and even Babyface (?!?!?!) shows up to co-produce a track. By keeping it a more R&B affair, it keeps Jim Jones rapping at such a minimum that he sounds like the guest rapper on his own songs. This is absolutely not a bad thing when Jim Jones is the rapper of concern. “Pray IV Reign” is the record that Ja Rule would kill to make these days.

Now here is the twist. Even though, “Pray IV Reign” is a ostensibly a good album, this is not a record that I actually would want to listen to. This seems like it would be a contradiction (and it is...) but that’s only because I dislike most modern R&B. I have long been a cynic when it comes to the T-Pain World Order of auto-tuned R&B that dominates urban radio (and it makes such a black hole of despair that I actively listen to NPR if I’m forced to listen to it in my car). This record fits in with that category and even though, it’s not my style to listen to these record I can’t deny that this is undeniably well-executed. It would unfair of me to say this record sucks because it doesn’t but if you don’t like this type of music, you will hate this record with a fiery passion because it offers nothing else other than soulless hip pop music and Jim Jones is a not talented enough artist that he can make up for that with his lyrical insights. I thus find myself in the uncompromising position of recommending an album, I don’t actually want to listen to. You win, Jimmy. I concede.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thoughts On Cam’ron’s (Probably Ill-Advised But Perhaps Not…) Comeback Attempt

Cameron Giles: Grosser, Weirder And More Mature Than Ever?

As many of you know, I hate Cam’ron. Well, no. That’s not quite true. I hate “Purple Haze.” I find Cam’ron, himself, to be gross and inane and regard his music to be the type of retarded that was only built for snickering, teenage glue sniffers too stupid to be into something marginally smarter like the Clipse but I don’t hate the man, personally. There is actually a few songs from the man that I unequivocally love without reservation. “Dipset Anthem” is the basic definition of anthemic which is appropriate considering the titular derivation of the word, “Oh Boy” remains one of the top ten hip hop singles of the last decade, “I.B.S.” is the weirdest (and horrifyingly disgusting) and most heartfelt song he’s ever recorded and “Down & Out” is just chipmunked soul goodness at it’s purest, most goofiest best. The majority of Cam’ron’s discography (or at least, his Rocafella to the present discography... I refuse to waste my time to listen an album with this monstrosity as an album cover. Besides if I wanted to listen to a Big L biter, I’d go listen to a Papoose record... which I most assuredly won’t be doing) has this gross, sneering minstrel show-like sheen that just leaves me with a bad taste in the back of my throat. It’s like swallowing synthetic ignorance and I don’t appreciate it all.

In the last couple of years since 50 Cent finished the job that Jay-Z and a rapidly maturing audience base started, Cam’ron has been quickly approaching (and also somewhat inexplicably considering he’s always been…) total self-parody. It started first with Cam getting shot driving in his “Camborghini” in Harlem after coming out of a club, devolved further into his idiotic feud with Jay-Z over Hov’s tragic choice in footwear (I agree with Cam on this one. Sandals are never a good look on a man), spiraled into Ed Woodian cinematic disaster with the release of “Killa Season: The Movie”, (a film that can be best described as if you took the atrocious “State Property” franchise and somehow managed to subtract all semblance of production values and inject more ignorance in to the proceedings) and finally bottomed out with the now legendary boxer-clad Youtube excursion in front of the world’s saddest backyard pool where Cam “infamously” declared war against 50 Cent and claimed it would be “a hot summer” before showing off his custom Tru Life-made black eye….and then he disappeared. Cam’ron’s absence from hip hop for close to a year became one of the biggest hip hop in-jokes around as Cam’s relative lack of output and Jim Jones ignominious rise to de-facto overlord of the Dipset weed carriers made Cam’ron an easy target for mockery.

In some sense, Cam’ron’s fading relevance and subsequent vanishing were always inevitable. For a guy with only two, bona-fide top 40 hits, one platinum album, (and absolutely no classic records in my not so humble and completely correct opinion…), Cam’ron’s status as hip hop royalty has always seemed incongruent thusly making his fall from grace inevitable. He’s never been consistent like a Ghostface nor as pop oriented as Jay-Z so it would make sense that he would not be able to maintain his popularity for too long. He was the face of a goofy little cult movement in Dipset, a group that spawned some of the worst popular rappers to hit the scene since Puffy met Mase but other than that nothing really seemed to warrant his massive popularity. His music was utterly inane and idiotic, he dressed head to toe in pink fur, his misogyny was palpable and gross, and his massive ego and delusions of grandeur made him an utterly repugnant figure. Sure, Cam’ron had a certain charm and inherent goofiness to his music but his affected, calculated drug dealer disinterest and nonchalance made his rather scatological and graphic lyrics appear lose their sense of fun. It was like listening to Keanu Reeves monotonously drone on in a Richard Pryor routine. His delivery is literally bereft of any semblance of joy. It never made a hell of lot of sense that in hip hop circles, for awhile, he rivaled Jay-Z, Nas and 50 Cent as the most popular rapper alive. He wasn’t nearly as good at writing winning pop songs as Hov and Curtis, he wasn’t the brilliantly gifted lyricist that Nas was and his music was too weird and insular to guarantee continued popularity. We should of all seen this coming.

In the last couple of months, Cam’ron has made his “triumphant” return to making music and the results have been decidedly… weird (and I mean, weird by Cam’ron standards. This is a man who made a song about having the shits, after all). As Cam’ron prepares to release his new album, “Crime Pays”, the music he’s been releasing starting with the Journey-assisted “Just Us” and culminating in the insane, ignorant brilliance of “Bottom Of The Pussyhole” have been unpredictable, strange, at times painfully dated, and at other times shockingly, at moments, meaningful.

One of the underrated and underutilized strengths of Cam’ron’s music is the few songs that he drops his affected persona and lets the audience view the real Cameron Giles. For example, “I.B.S.” off 2006’s “Killa Season”, the song where Cam’ron describes his very, real struggles with his chronic irritable bowel syndrome is one of the most vivid descriptions of personal vulnerability that a rapper has ever laid on wax. It works because Cam’ron is willingly to risk his credibility and possibly humiliate himself describing an embarrassing physical disease (he talks about shitting himself backstage) and actually present himself as human. “I Hate My Job” works much in the same way and is the best song that Cam has recorded in years. On “I Hate My Job”, Cam’s ode to the working man to rival Bruce Springsteen himself, he goes into the very, real struggles of trying to go honest from a life of crime and working at a piss ant, menial labor job. Over a soul-infused, stuttering piano beat, Cam’ron crafts a song that is fitting and meaningful for these tough economic times. The song seems to work as a metaphor for both his recent struggles as a rapper as it explores his dissatisfaction and tiring from his job without being overt to what he’s actually referring to it. It could be taken literally and be referring a past job in menial labor or it could refer to his (“alleged”) days as a coke overlord of the universe. Either way, it’s exciting to watch Cam’ron traverse new territory and try to break from his traditional and very tired boundaries.

Does this suggest Cam’ron’s taking his new album into a more personal territory and away from his tired, disaffected, cartoonish super villain? Probably not as some of the other music he’s been releasing lately has suggested. “Bottom Of The Pussyhole”, while being one of the most ignorantly brilliant songs I’ve heard in a long time, has Cam at his quease inducing weirdest while “Caveman” is a true return to his ultra-low brow misogynistic roots. Some of these songs work because they traverse into late-period R. Kelly gonzo humor while some of them sound flaccid and dated. “Caveman”, for example, oddly sounds like Lil Jon’s 2006 single “Snap Yo Fingers” and weirdly appropriates Geico’s Caveman commercials into the hook. It sounds as if built for the clubs of 3 years ago and thus sounds unconsciously dated. Perhaps, it’s striving to be this album’s failed single “Suck It Or Not” although I haven’t any idea why Cam’ron would want to replicate that song’s complete artistic failure. “Bottom Of The Pussyhole” is similar but works only because it treads into such bad taste that it mines the insane Robert Kelly brand flourishes that make Kells late period working such an amusing train wreck to listen to. Other songs like “I Get It In Ohio” are lame sub-Clipse cocaine rap and “My Aura” is sabotaged by 5th rate Heatmakerz production. What’s particularly troubling is Cam’ron’s insistence of using almost exclusively flaccid synth-based Southern rap production on most of these new songs. While I have never been a fan of Dipset’s histrionic choice in production, the decision to go to a more synth based route (particularly a dated synth based route) reeks of trend chasing and dated trend chasing at that. If Cam’ron is going to make a proper comeback, he needs to come up with better production than Lil’ Jon rip-offs from five years ago. For one, it doesn’t really fit with Cam’s signature hyperbole but for other, it’s not original in the slightest and this type of lack of ingenuity is what dragged his erstwhile nemesis 50 Cent from the top of the pop charts into utter self-parody.

While I’ve never been a particular fan of Cam’ron, I’m hoping that “Crime Pays” will go a more confessional route and address some of the personal and professional issues (the Dipset dissolution, his beef with Curtis, his forced sabbatical) that have plaguing Cam’s career over the last couple of years as opposed to his stale drug dealer gimmick. “I Hate My Job” is brilliant and I would love to see an album full of those type of songs from Cam’ron as opposed to songs like “Caveman.” Comebacks are tough and re-invention in hip hop is almost impossible as fans have often refuse to let an artist grow and mature because of the expectations of the genre. You have to balance the needs of your hardcore fans while attempting to tread new ground in order to grow as an artist and make your comeback worthwhile in the first place. The few that have been successful (“Mama Said Knock You Out”, “Stillmatic”) have been able to find that balance while those that didn’t (“Kingdom Come”, “8 Diagrams”) were not. If Cam’ron wants to do this right, he needs to seriously consider what type of artist he wants to be. If he wants to continue to be the goofball clown that we all know than I feel that “Crime Pays” is destined to fail. Either way, if he wants to make me happy, he’ll make sure that it sounds absolutely nothing like “Purple Haze." What a shitty, shitty album...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

...And What Exactly Will Black Thought Be Doing Now?: Thoughts On Jimmy Fallon, The Roots & Signs Of The Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse

"One Of These Things Are Not Like The Others, One Of These Things Suck..."

I think America, nay, the World owes the Roots a very public and sincere apology for what I can only imagine is one of the most painful and degrading experiences of their lives. Ahmir... Tariq... if we had simply attended more of your shows and bought more of your records, we would not be subjecting you to one of the greatest injustices in the history of mankind ever. It’s patently unfair, this is happening to you. I’ll do anything to make it stop. I’ll buy a copy of “Things Fall Apart” again. I’ll stop talking about how much “Phrenology” sucked. I’ll even subsidize ?uestlove’s epic interracial porn habit if it helps (provided I get a copy of the material transferred to my hard drive. You know, for...uh... billing purposes...). This shouldn’t be happening to you. I can’t stress how deeply and painfully sorry I am that you are being forced to work as the new house band for Jimmy Fuckin’ Fallon. The world didn’t realize what it had until you started toting marijuana for the star of “Taxi” (and not the classic ‘70s sitcom starring Danny DeVito and Andy Kaufman but the shitty crime comedy movie starring Queen Latifah...) I sincerely apologize on the world’s behalf.

The slightly less legendary Roots crew debuted last night on NBC’s sure-fire late night impending aborto-pocalypse “Late Night With Jimmy Falllon” and I watched in a dazed confusion while one of the world’s greatest live bands was wasted playing Bee Gee covers for Justin Timberlake as he and Jimmy Fallon re-hashed marginally, amusing decade old skits from Saturday Night Live; something that can only be described as “Frat-Boys-Doing-Dave-Chappelle-Doing-Rick-James”-esque. This is an experience that can only be more lame by Jimmy Fallon desperately attempting (and completely failing) not to laugh at it his own jokes and a special performance by Van Morrison’s corpse...which all happened. It was the kind of the hallucinogenic, bizzaro experience you expect while either dreaming or in a drug-enhanced, dream-like coma inevitably induced by ingesting the contents of a pharmacy. I half expected Carlos Mencia and Dane Cook (the other two thirds of the trifecta of stand-up comedy awfulness) to appear and perform “Who’s On First?” while Sean Penn provides political commentary and Alex Rodriguez attempts to appear human. It was a true exercise in lame mediocrity. At one point in the show, Jimmy actually had ?uestlove performing drum rolls for college kids from Long Island as they licked household appliances for ten dollars. I really wish I was kidding. All in all, it was a haunting experience and something that can only be appropriately described as apocalyptic. Utterly and completely apocalyptic.

While the Roots have never enjoyed anything remotely resembling mass commercial success, they are group whose bread and butter has always been touring and they seemed to have carved a nice, little niche for themselves as the world’s premier hip hop live band. Better writers have articulated this before but the experience of seeing the Roots live is nothing less than a revelation and none of their recorded music can start to compete with their stage show. The Roots are meant to be seen and not necessarily heard. The musicianship lead by ?uestlove is, of course, fantastic but Black Thought, who despite being one of the great lyrical ass lyrical emcees of his generation is often prone to getting lost on recorded songs, simply dominates the stage when you see him live. Nobody works harder. To wallow in hyperbole for moment, Black Thought to some extent is the James Brown of hip hop. He’s the best live performer the genre has. What makes the Roots decision to join Jimmy Fallon in his quest to ruin late night television so pointless is that unless they have an innovative way to work Black Thought into the proceedings, they are essentially forcing Thought to the background. They are taking one of the strongest assets of their live shows and rendering him moot.

On the first show last night, Thought awkwardly sat to the side of the band as they performed until Fallon engaged him in some short, sub-Kevin Eubanksian chit chat and a short(and I’ll admit pretty funny) musical interlude where he crooned a slow jam about the stimulus package during Fallon’s opening monologue . If they are planning to use him as Fallon’s Paul Shaffer-esque sidekick than I can’t imagine a bigger waste of talent than that. For one, unlike Kevin Eubanks, Paul Shaffer or even Max Weinberg, Black Thought isn’t exactly known for his charismatic personality. He lurks in the background on the tracks when he’s recorded, content to kick thoughtful verses seemingly full of force and hunger but at the same time, inexplicably indistinguishable and unmemorable between each other. If the Roots failed commercially, it’s because the rapper of the group isn’t exactly dripping with Jigga-esque charisma. I can’t imagine Fallon playing off a monotone Black Thought would make great television especially considering ?uestlove, the group’s drummer and de-facto leader, is such a goofy and charming personality. If anybody is going to play Fallon’s Kevin Eubanks, it should be ?uestlove.

I really don’t know why this happening, either. I can’t imagine playing the role of Fallon’s house band is going to make their next record magically sell a million records nor is it going to win them many new fans. Pretty much, everybody I know likes the group in theory regardless if they like hip hop or not. It's strange phenomenon. Everybody likes the group but I don't know many who actually own Roots records but perhaps that's because their biggest hit, "The Seed 2.0", is this bizarre neo-soul rap rock hybrid. All I can really see this move doing is alienating them from their core of self-righteous, okayplaying real hip hop cargo shorters. Remember this is a fan base that almost revolted when they attempted to make a pop song with the lead singer of Fall Out Boy last year (not that I’m suggesting “Birthday Girl” wasn’t the worst song the Roots have ever recorded)? I can only think of three reasons why they would do this and none of them are because they are fans of Jimmy Fallon’s stint destroying Saturday Night Live:

1. They hate themselves and are secretly sado-masochists and think that watching Jimmy Fallon fumble his lines is a cost-effective way to punish themselves for their sins.

While I personally can respect a group hell-bent on self destruction as recent forays into my own personal life have displayed, nothing strikes me about the Roots as being that particularly dark.

2. They are being PAID.

NBC backed up the money truck on Black Thought’s front lawn and provided ?uestlove with a lifetime supply of Jenna Haze DVD’s and hired Tera Patrick to be his personal sex slave.

3. They are tired of touring.

This is the most logical conclusion considering the band has been touring for damn near two decades without stop and acting as Jimmy Fallon’s house band gives them a sense of stability. It’s a grind to tour and the endless whirlwind of the process must have worn thin with the group. They are never going to be superstars and they figured that this would be an easy way to make some money and not have to deal with the constant pressures that life on tour provided.

The Roots are better than this. They shouldn’t have to be working for Jimmy Fallon this late into their careers. You have to wonder what this says about the world we live in right now when even a successful and famous band are being forced to take up shitty day jobs to make ends meet. With the world collapsing around us and Wall Street kicking and screaming into a unsure economic future even our celebrities need to sacrifice. I just wish the Roots didn’t have to work for Jimmy Fallon. He ruined the Red Sox first World Series win in 86 years by running out on the field and making out with Drew Barrymore.... Actually, that was pretty awesome. Fuck Boston.