The Roots feat. Bilal: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

Oct. 30, 2017 | Abby O'Neill -- Can you believe it? Yes, those are The Roots packed behind the Tiny Desk. Black Thought, Questlove and the crew carved out a few hours in their hectic Tonight Show schedule to visit NPR headquarters in Washington D.C. Why travel four hours for a 12-minute concert when you own the late-night airwaves? The answer can be found in the lyrics to The Roots' new song, "It Ain't Fair."

Armed with the incredible vocalist Bilal, The Roots performed the signature track from Detroit, a film about the race riots in 1967. "It Ain't Fair" glares unflinchingly, takes a knee and raises a fist against the societal construct that has systematically denied equality of experience to those "presumed inferior," to quote one of Bilal's verses. And it achieves all this while covering its heart with its right hand. This reflective hymn tenderly yanks your heart strings and offers a window into the ethos of those who would like to stand for the flag but cannot in good principle, lest these same evils continue to exist.

Those lucky enough to be in the Tiny Desk audience witnessed masters at work. Black Thought is truly one of the most intelligent emcees ever, and his razor-sharp lyricism was on full display. Questlove, a musical and cultural historian nonpareil, was both a metronomical and moral anchor. It felt like the culmination of decades of academic rigor and boom-bap sessions, fittingly backed by a seven-piece horn section. Bilal's falsetto-laced vocals and warm resonance evoked powerful messaging reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield's "Don't Worry," delivered with the eccentricity of Prince.

Late last year, Common premiered "Letter to the Free" at the Tiny Desk and later won an Emmy for the song. It wouldn't surprise me if "It Ain't Fair" becomes another award-winning performance when the Oscars roll around early next year. This is a song that deserves to be heard in the millions of households that watch The Roots every night.

Set List

"It Ain't Fair"

MUSICIANS

Curtis L. Jones Jr (Trombone), Arnetta Johnson (Trumpet), Hiruy E. Tirfe (Sax), Richard L. Tate II (Sax), Joseph Streater (Trumpet), Norman J. Bradshaw (Trombone), Damon Bryson (Sousaphone), Ahmir (Questlove) Thompson (Drums), Tarik (Black Thought) Trotter (Emcee), Bilal Oliver (Vocals)

CREDITS

Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Producers: Abby O'Neill, Morgan Noelle Smith; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern, Kara Frame, Alyse Young; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR

Rating:
  • Currently 0/5 stars.

Views: 55

Comment

You need to be a member of True Skool Network to add comments!

Join True Skool Network

Best guide to hip hop, soul, reggae concerts & events in San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles & New York City + music, videos, radio and more

Connect

Bookmark and Share

Subscribe to our EBlast

 Subscribe

Win Tickets

Fantastic Negrito
Fri, June 15 @ The Fillmore, SF

Slightly Stoopid
Sun, June 17 @ Greek Theatre, Berkeley

Nipsey Hussle
Wed, Jun 27 @ The Warfield, SF

Stefflon Don
Tue, Jul 10 @ Slim's, SF

TOP PICKS

Members

Photos

  • Add Photos
  • View All

Groups

Latest Activity

Magassia Promotions posted a blog post

New Music Video "Bodies Droppin" | BigDawg Chino

BigDawg Chino is not just an artist, he is an entertainer. The music he creates such as "Fresh Out" & "Sin City", has a tune of its own, that makes you want to play it over and over. Not only will you relate, but he has this way, this essence, that brings one into his music. His lyrical content accompanied by great production will keep you bobbing your heads, while hearing and understanding his story. He says the things we won't admit or express, or even afraid to say. Relax while BigDawg…See More
yesterday
An event by Editor's Pick was featured
Thumbnail

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 20th Anniversary Tour at Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View

September 20, 2018 from 6:30pm to 11pm
THURSDAY, SEPT 20 The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 20th Anniversary Tourwith SZA, De La Soul and Shabazz PalacesShoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA6:30pm | All Ages >> BUY TICKETSSee More
yesterday
Editor's Pick updated an event
Thumbnail

Digable Planets (Cancelled) at The UC Theatre, Berkeley

July 28, 2018 from 7pm to 11pm
SATURDAY, JULY 28Digable Planets (Cancelled)The UC Theatre, Berkeley Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm $37.50…See More
yesterday
Indie Castle posted blog posts
yesterday
An event by DJ SEP was featured
Thumbnail

Dub Mission in Oakland, with DJ Sep, Beatnok & DJ Silverback (one night only) at Elbo Room Jack London

July 7, 2018 at 9:30pm to July 8, 2018 at 2am
Saturday, July 7, 2018Dub Mission presents three of the Bay’s top reggae selectors for one night only in OaklandDJ Sep (Dub Mission)Beatnok (I & I Vibration/Skylarking)and DJ Silverback (Sound System Fridays/Burial Ground Sound)at Elbo Room Jack London: 311 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607 - 21+ 9:30 pm to 2 am - $7 Advance at https://dmjuly7oakland.eventbrite.comwww.dubmission.comFB event link:…See More
Tuesday
TEAM BIGGA RANKIN posted a blog post
Tuesday
DJ SEP posted an event
Thumbnail

Dub Mission in Oakland, with DJ Sep, Beatnok & DJ Silverback (one night only) at Elbo Room Jack London

July 7, 2018 at 9:30pm to July 8, 2018 at 2am
Saturday, July 7, 2018Dub Mission presents three of the Bay’s top reggae selectors for one night only in OaklandDJ Sep (Dub Mission)Beatnok (I & I Vibration/Skylarking)and DJ Silverback (Sound System Fridays/Burial Ground Sound)at Elbo Room Jack London: 311 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607 - 21+ 9:30 pm to 2 am - $7 Advance at https://dmjuly7oakland.eventbrite.comwww.dubmission.comFB event link:…See More
Monday
Indie Castle posted blog posts
Monday
bosshogg shared their discussion on Facebook
Monday
bosshogg posted a discussion
Monday
Magassia Promotions posted blog posts
Sunday
Bass Way Records updated an event
Thumbnail

Elegant Thursday at San Jose, CA

June 21, 2018 at 10pm to June 22, 2018 at 2am
A venue where artist can book  a release or listening party.  Customize bottle service.  Get club singles tested by dj etc.Also dancing and dj music for general public.  No cover, casual dress,Hip Hop R&B Top 40, trap and Club Classics,Downtown San Jose,  Easy Parking, 2 separate dance floors, and outdoor patio, Can have to 3 different dj's.Come see the Venue this Thurs. May 10, 2018World Class DJ in the mix:  DJ Johnny AfroSee More
Sunday

Music

Loading…

© 2018   Created by Ren the Vinyl Archaeologist.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service