As far as the Odd Future performance, it kind of reminded me of the energy brought by Wu-Tang on The Arsenio Hall Show from the ‘90s.
The difference is, Wu-Tang was a definite name by the time they were on The Arsenio Hall Show. Odd Future wasn’t a name. I feel like cosigns from us are that much stronger. We’ve taken a lot of artists and gave them their first look. Melanie Fiona’s first look was on our show, and few other artists got their first major exposure on our show, as far as reaching a national audience. With Odd Future, they’re just bringing this raw energy that’s been missing from hip-hop. And I just like the idea of my hip-hop not being so politically correct all the time.
Pittsburgh recently became a hot hip-hop destination thanks to Wiz Khalifa. Philly’s always been a hotbed for hip-hop, but where’s your rap superstar?
We had Will Smith. What are you talking about? [Laughs]. I mean, Philly in general has an entire history of music. Philadelphia invented disco music. Philadelphia has at least seven or eight notables of the jazz world in their corner. Schooly D invented gangsta rap. I think more than anything, Philadelphia has history. I think, between the jazz period and rock period and neo-soul period, we’re not tied to a particular figure, but we’re tied to music as a whole.
What are your thoughts on the Mister Cee case? How do you perceive homophobia in hip-hop?
That’s really none of my business. Hip-hop should be mature enough to let people live by their own vices. Whether he did or didn’t do it, whether or not you feel a certain way about it, I mean, that’s really Mister Cee’s business not my concern.
In an article several years back, you’ve mentioned you want to do just one more album than the Miles Davis’ catalogue. Is this still the case for The Roots?
We’re working on our 13th album right now. My goal is to treat every album like it’s our first record and come hungry and come classy.
How I Got Over featured younger talents like STS and Blu. When can we expect from the upcoming Roots album?
We’re working on the music, but we didn’t get to that part yet. We’re certain we’ll feature someone who hasn’t had the audience. Pretty much every Roots album takes a part in showcasing acts that aren’t big names yet.
Wake Up! with John Legend was a collection of songs that were re-interpretation of older records. Have you guys ever thought about doing something similar, but with contemporary hits? Like Now That's What I Call Music!, but with a Roots’ twist.
[Laughs] That’s a good idea. We might consider that. It never occurred to us. The stuff we’re doing now is almost beyond making records. I mean, we’re still making records, but there’s a whole another line of ventures that are lined up. I kind of felt like this Fallon thing would’ve been our retirement gig, but it kind of bit us in the ass and winded up opening more doors for us than expected.