The Roots The Roots Come Alive

The hardest working hip-hop band around presents a live album “in all its flawed glory,” according to drummer ?Love. Recorded in Zurich, Paris and New York, The Roots Come Alive captures the group’s ample chops coming together as a unit with MC Black Thought relishing the role of leader. He keeps the audience’s attention whether riling them up, reciting lyrics in hushed tones or indulging in off-the-dome improvisation. Live staples “Mellow My Man” and “Proceed,” from 1994’s Do You Want More, make their customary appearances early, but the bulk of the set favours this year’s breakthrough effort, Things Fall Apart, catering a little too much to new fans of the group. And while the soulful takes of “Silent Treatment,” “The ‘Notic” and “You Got Me” are like everything else here, impeccably delivered, they convey a mild pacing that belies the manic energy of an average Roots show. This is partly redeemed by Black Thought, Dice Raw and Malik B. ripping punishing verses over a sinister piano on bonus track “The Lesson – Part III.” But with the lack of sizeable contributions from beat-box maestros Rahzel and Scratch, the group’s infamous hip-hop 101 segment (probably omitted due to copyright issues) and favourites from the group’s earlier catalogue, The Roots Come Alive can only be considered a small, yet enjoyable peek into what this Philly-based crew can do on stage. (MCA)