The Frontier Touring Company and Illusive have announced that Grammy award-winning hip-hop visionaries The Roots will take the stage for headline shows in Sydney and Melbourne this December!
Joining The Roots at both live performances as special guest will be Sydney’s very own hip-hop wunderkind Urthboy. The news of this headline tour coincides with The Roots’ highly anticipated appearances at this year’s Falls Festival, taking a break from their celebrated residency as the house band for US talk show Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
The Roots were co-founded by childhood friends Black Thought and ?uestlove in 1987, their passionate and innovative approach to hip-hop took the band from talent shows to underground gigs in Philadelphia and New York to a tour across Europe.
Their debut offering Organix, an independent release, quickly caught the attention of several major record labels and the band released their first major-label album Do You Want More? and it’s follow up Illadelph Halflife in 1995 and 1996 respectively.
It was their seminal fourth album Things Fall Apart in 1999 that saw The Roots breakthrough and catapult into cultural consciousness. Receiving universal acclaim, Things Fall Apart was praised for its complex sound and thematic maturity by playing with the conventions of both hip-hop and soul. The album reached #4 on the Billboard 200 and has been certified platinum in the US. Its smash hit single ‘You Got Me’, a collaboration with R&B singer Erykah Badu and Eve, peaked at #39 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
The Roots subsequently released the equally acclaimed albums Phrenology and The Tipping Point before signing with the urban and hip-hop institution Def Jam. This deal fostered the one-two punch of the dark and socially conscious albums Game Theory and Rising Down that also introduced shades of synth and electronica to their already progressive sound.
In 2009, the band began their tenure as house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Displaying an impeccable knack for versatility and improvisation, the band have become a fixture on television screens across the world and cemented their place within pop culture history.
Any concerns that The Roots television commitments would encumber their creative output were firmly put to rest with the band releasing no less than four albums in three years including the critically lauded How I Got Over, the John Legend collaboration Wake Up!, the Betty Wright collaboration Betty Wright: The Movie and Undun which saw the band reach new heights artistically with an existential concept album. Its elegant subject matter was only matched by the band’s skilled musicianship.
Earlier this year, The Roots worked with iconic singer-songwriter Elvis Costello on the duet album Wise Up Ghost (watch the clip for single ‘Walk Us Uptown’ here), a work that combined their collective talents for criss crossing genres and composing evocative lyrics into an expertly crafted and ingenious collaboration that references both of their respective careers. True to form, Wise Up Ghost has been garnering a heap of critical acclaim:
‘…a very cool, politically charged collaboration which finds the Roots and Costello at their thrilling best.’ – The Daily Telegraph (UK) ★★★★★
‘Wise Up Ghost contains some of the most fleshy and smart work of either act’s career. It’s a perfect nexus of talents.’ – Rolling Stone ★★★★
The customary standard high praise for The Roots isn’t just restricted to their albums; their live shows have become renowned as showcases of their razor sharp skill and unbounded imagination:
‘…they're the only band out there right now that effortlessly blends Hip-Hop, Rap, Funk, Jazz and Rock, managing to draw people in with their eclecticness thereby alienating no one. In these polarizing times, not only musically but in all aspects of life, The Roots are a much needed source of harmony. In this case, literally.’ – The Examiner
Hailing from NSW’s Blue Mountains region, Urthboy’s rise and rise has been nothing short of remarkable, indelibly leaving his mark as one of the main songwriters of the group The Herd and in his own prolific solo career.
A three time nominee of the Australian Music Prize, Urthboy’s most recent album Smokey’s Haunt (watch the clip for single ‘The Big Sleep here) cemented his place as critical favourite. The release earned nominations for j award’s Australian Album Of The Year, Rolling Stone’s Best Independent Release and Album Of The Year with a five star review from The Australian saying “absolutely captivating, play on repeat”. Urthboy has equally impressed on the tour circuit both here and overseas with appearances at Germany’s Splash Festival and Open-Air Festival in Switzerland.
The Roots’ December headline shows with Urthboy in Sydney and Melbourne are set to be one of the most celebrated performances of the year. Make sure you don’t miss out!