While The Roots may be best known currently for being the house band on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, long before they appeared regularly on national television in front of an audience of millions, the group’s beginnings were much more humble. In 1987, founding members rapper Black Thought (Tariq Trotter) and drummer Questlove (Ahmir Khalib Thompson) met at the Philadelphia High School for Creative Performing Arts and began making music under the moniker The Square Roots. Shortly thereafter, the pair literally took their talents to the streets, busking for change and making rounds competing in local talent shows. Later adding bassist Hub (Leon Hubbard) and rapper Malik B to their line-up, the group shortened their name to The Roots and the rest soon became history. Early members included producer Scott Storch (replaced by keyboardist Kamal Gray) with the current roster including producer James Poyser. Renowned for their live show, the group began experimenting and winning over fans with their neo-soul meets hip-hop sound, expanding their line-up significantly. After building a buzz, the group released their first album in 1993 (Organix) later leading them to signing with GGC. Following their 1995 major label debut album Do You Want More?!!!??!, the group went on to experience mainstream success for the first time, breaking the Top 40 on the Billboard 200 chart, with their rap parody music video accompanying “What They Do” ending up on rotation on MTV. Their 1999 album, Things Fall Apart, led them to their first Grammy win, as well as helped elevate the careers of Beanie Sigel and Eve. The Roots have since gone on to collaborate with the likes of John Legend, Betty Wright, Elvis Costello and more, continuously evolving their sounds and talents, crafting almost a dozen albums and securing their influential legacy as top-tier instrumentalists and creators.

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