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Richmond Jazz Festival

Source: Photos by Kecia / Photos by Kecia

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylania in 1972, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter began rapping at age nine. Originally attending the prestigious Philly High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Thought was expelled for allegedly being caught in the bathroom with a lady friend. Despite this, Thought took his creative talents and teamed up with friend and drummer Amir “Questlove” Thompson. The two would perform a drum-and-rap act at local clubs, talent shows, and even street corners.

In 1987, the two formed a group called The Square Roots. Picking up additional members like Malik B and Rahzel along the years, they dropped the “Square” and became simply The Roots with their 1993 debut album Organix. They found success in Europe with a tour beginning in Germany, and gained buzz which led to their signing with Geffen Records and 1995 album Do You Want More??!!??!

The group used live instruments and very few digital samples, which was unheard of for a hip-hop group. Gaining attention for their original music and Black Thought’s original, thought provoking lyrics with sharp delivery, The Roots became hip-hop’s first band and amassed a huge fan base.

With 11 albums to date, they have become legends are are known for their live performances. In 2009, The Roots became the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and remain as the band with the change to the wildly successful Tonight Show – where Black Thought serves as the show’s MC.

Today we salute and wish a happy birthday to one of the most underrated in the game, Black Thought!

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