2. The Roots Release Do You Want More?!!!??!
As debuts go, the Roots’ Do You Want More?!!!??! was a quirky revelation? A jazz-inflected hip-hop group that played their own instruments—sans turntables and sampling. The ambitious 1995 release showcasing the criminally slept-on MC Black Thought, mercurial lyricist Malik B, drummer/producer/visionary Questlove, and the rest of the Roots crew, could have easily trailed off into gimmicky territory. But the uncompromising act never strayed too far from its rap foundations on such staples as “Proceed,” “Distortion to Static,” and “Silent Treatment.”
Sure, Do You Want More?!!!??! now seems like a quaint snap shot when compared to the Roots more expansive catalogue (among the highlights Illadelph Halflife, Things Fall Apart, Game Theory, and How I Got Over). But without their opening salvo, there would be no road warrior reputation as the hardest touring band in show business; no Okayplayer.com; no Grammy-winning acclaim; no backing band heroics for Jay-Z, Eminem, and Nas; and no house band duties for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Philly’s finest, indeed.