How to take a good song and make it great
Generally speaking, I try to avoid posting YouTube videos or streaming MP3s here– there’s any number of other blogs where you can find that kind of thing, so why would you want to come looking for it here?– but I can’t help but comment on the new single from The Roots, from their forthcoming How I Got Over album. The song was originally recorded last year by the Monsters of Folk– you can hear their version in the video above– and the Roots men were clearly rather taken with it when the MoF stopped by to perform the song on Jimmy Fallon; they’ve updated it, but I almost wouldn’t call it a cover so much as a re-imagining, a mash-up of the original MoF track with a killer, politically- and theologically-aware rap track from Black Thought. It’s a marriage of the original tune with a streetwise new anthem from the Roots crew, and it ups both the darkness and the urgency of the original. The effect is a radical makeover– the original song teased at theological vigor, but the Roots confront it head-on. Their track positively blazes with both compassion and righteous anger, and its zeal for finding divine answers seems genuine.
In other words: It’s a pretty killer update. You can hear it here.