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: 71

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

Hannibal Buress
Saturday, Sept 29 @ Paramount Theatre, Oakland

Jedi Mind Tricks
Sun, Sept 30 @ The Independent, SF

Lecrae x Andy Mineo
Wed, Oct 3 @ The Masonic, SF

How The West Won Ft. Ice Cube, Too Short +more!
Sat, Oct 13 @ Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View

Treasure Island Music Festival
Sat-Sun, Oct 13–14 @ Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, Oakland

TOP PICKS

Members

Photos

  • Add Photos
  • View All

Groups

Latest Activity

An event by Editor's Pick was featured
Thumbnail

Lecrae & Andy Mineo at The Masonic, San Francisco

October 3, 2018 from 7:30pm to 11pm
ENTER TO WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS. WINNER WILL BE DRAWN RANDOMLY AND ANNOUNCED 2 DAYS PRIOR TO EVENT. WEDNESDAY, OCT 3Lecrae & Andy Mineo Better Late Than Never Tour@ The Masonic, San Francisco, CA 7:30pm>>…See More
5 hours ago
Editor's Pick updated an event
Thumbnail

GOLDEN ERA (Classic Hip Hop Night) at Hello Stranger Bar, Oakland

October 11, 2018 at 9pm to October 12, 2018 at 1:30am
THURSDAY, OCT 11 True Skool presents GOLDEN ERA 2nd ThursdaysFeaturing Ren the Vinyl Archaeologist (True Skool) spinning your favorite hip hop classics@ Hello Stranger Bar, 1724 Broadway, Oakland 9pm til 2am | No cover!RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1641008442692131/ ABOUT REN THE VINYL…See More
5 hours ago
Editor's Pick updated an event
Thumbnail

Elevation feat. Ren the Vinyl Archaeologist @ Layover, Oakland (1st Fridays) at The Layover, Oakland, CA

October 5, 2018 at 10pm to October 6, 2018 at 2am
FRIDAY, OCT 5 True Skool & Layover present Elevation (1st Fridays)Elevating your mind, body and soul to new heights as you take a journey through musicWith your pilotRen the Vinyl Archaeologist (True Skool) @ The Layover, 1517 Frankin St, OaklandFREE before 9pm, $5 after, 21+, 10pm-2amClick here for Guest List:…See More
5 hours ago
Editor's Pick posted discussions
6 hours ago
Jon Schroeder is attending Editor's Pick's event
Thumbnail

Treasure Island Music Festival at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park

October 13, 2018 at 12pm to October 14, 2018 at 10pm
ENTER TO WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS. WINNER WILL BE DRAWN RANDOMLY AND ANNOUNCED 2 DAYS PRIOR TO EVENT.SATURDAY-SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13–14 Treasure Island Music Festival One of the West Coast’s most celebrated and beloved music festivals that is produced by both Noise Pop and Another Planet Entertainment, is proud to reveal the full music…See More
yesterday
Jon Schroeder is attending Editor's Pick's event
Thumbnail

Hannibal Buress at Paramount Theatre, Oakland, CA

September 29, 2018 from 8pm to 11pm
ENTER TO WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS. WINNER WILL BE DRAWN RANDOMLY AND ANNOUNCED 2 DAYS PRIOR TO EVENT. SATURDAY, SEPT 29 Hannibal BuressParamount Theatre,…See More
yesterday
Jon Schroeder replied to Editor's Pick's discussion 'Win Tickets'
"How do I enter the contest to win tix. This format seems different than it used to be but it's been a minute since I've been on here"
yesterday
Magassia Promotions posted a blog post

"Aint My Style" (Official Music Video) | K-Styles @kstylesworld

K-Styles releases visuals for his reflecting track "Aint My Style". The song dives into reflecting on how alot of the hip hop culture works is not how he handles situations and also includes some self reflection. "Aint My Style" is also available on all stream sites and online music stores.Connect With K-styles On Social Media:Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kstylesworldInstagram:…See More
yesterday
Editor's Pick posted a discussion

LOGIC’S VMA PERFORMANCE WAS A POWERFUL PROTEST AGAINST IMMIGRANT FAMILY SEPARATION

BY CHARLES HOLMES • 08/20/2018Logic triumphantly walked into the MTV Video Music Awards tonight (August 20) on a mission. Followed by 60 Latinx children wearing "we are all human beings" shirts, the Maryland rapper launched into a meaningful performance of "One Day" featuring Ryan Tedder. The moment was an artistic…See More
yesterday
SceneSquid SF Bay posted events
yesterday
Indie Castle posted a blog post
yesterday
Editor's Pick posted a video
Sunday

Music

Loading…

© 2018   Created by Ren the Vinyl Archaeologist.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service