The Roots: Laskified

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A few weeks ago I started a new series of mixes called Laskified, the premise was that there are a gang of rap artists that have an amazing collection of music but for one reason or another they cannot put together an album that keeps my attention.  The first in the series was the rapper Mos Def who is an insanely talented rapper but might be a glue sniffer because his work is often inconsistent and erratic. 

The goal of the series was to put on my a&r hat and take the artists collection and cherry pick from it to make a cohesive album, of not necessarily essential tracks but, tracks that would work for a complete album that keeps your interest from front to back.  When conceptualizing the idea I came up with a set of rules to follow that included:

1. The music can only come from the artist album catalogue, no collaborations, guest appearances or side projects.
2. The project must flow like an album, which means if the song doesn’t fit, it doesn’t get on, I don’t care if it is their biggest hit nor has a Jay-Z or Kanye guest appearance.
3. It must not be longer than 55 minutes and 14 songs, because no album ever should be.

With today’s artist, The Roots, we went a little over out time limit but still came in at under 1 hour.  I have a love hate relationship with The Roots, while I know they are extremely talented and when all things are clicking there are very few groups that can fuck with them at all.  Unfortunately that rarely happens outside of their live shows.  Where they excel in the live arena they tend to flounder on the studio.  The Roots have released 7 studio albums, 8 if you include Organix which I do not, simply because it sucks.  All of the 7 albums contain a few good to great songs and a lot of boring filler shit.  The other problem is that every album carries the same format – an intro, a few songs about rap, a few girl songs, one crossover type single that is always awful, a few experimental joints which are always surprisingly good, and a few songs of rapper Black Thought completely demolishing the mic.  When it comes to just ripping the shit out of a track few can do it better than Black Thought.  Unfortunately, they get away from that too much because they have this BS formula that sucks the life out of every project.  

It is very frustrating to see a group that is this talented avoid what they are best at.  At the same time it’s hard to argue with a group that has been releasing music for 17 years, and still remains a relevant force today.  I just wish they would put out one album that puts all their strengths together, trims the fat and makes a fucking classic.  Until then this will have to do. 


1. Act Won (Things Fall Apart)
2. 75 Bars (Black’s Reconstruction)
3. Here I Come
4. Act Too (The Love of My Life)
5. Panic!!!
6. The Seed (2.0)
7. Stay Cool
8. Water
9. Clones
10. Living In A New World
11. Distortion to Static
12. Thought @ Work
13. The Web
14. The Lesson, Pt. 1

The Roots: Laskified –


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