The Roots to perform on campus


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For the first time since Hancher lost its facility to the 2008 flood, the organization has teamed up with SCOPE to bring the musical act the Roots to campus. Hancher Executive Director Chuck Swanson said the program remains committed to serving University of Iowa students.

“This is a way to partner with SCOPE again. We used to rent them the building, and we could work directly with the students and the SCOPE committee. We always enjoyed that, and we miss that,” Swanson said. “This is a great with our ‘Can’t Contain Us’ theme to be able to connect again and bring some great things to the university.”

The 2011 Grammy winners for best hip-hop album, the Roots is taking a week off from playing as the house band on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” to perform live shows. The group will play at 8 p.m. today in the IMU Main Lounge. Admission is $21.

Based in Philadelphia, the group is known for its heavy jazz sound and instrumentation. Since its formation in 1993, the band has gained popularity with such albums as Things Fall Apart, Phrenology, and most recently How I Got Over. The group has gained critical acclaim and influenced hip-hop and R&B musicians, collaborating with such artists as Jay-Z and John Legend.

SCOPE public-relations coordinator Zachary Isom is excited to see the Roots perform again because of the high intensity shows that include a hybrid of hip-hop elements and live-band energy.

“[The musicians] do a lot of really sweet stuff in between sets, like make a lot of songs by playing instrumental versions of popular songs that goes into one of their own. It’s just this really loose jam-feel,” Isom said. “I feel like people who pay to go are going to get their money’s worth. I don’t think they’ll prove me wrong; they’ve only ever proved me right.”

Hancher Programming Director Jacob Yarrow has been familiar with the group for nearly 20 years. He believes the group has been a leader in the hip-hop world for decades.

“One of our goals is to present the leading artist in whatever genre they perform in,” he said.

Swanson said the Roots has been one of the most popular names in hip-hop, especially in recent years. He believes appreciation for the group has grown over the years as it has refined its musical abilities.

“I think what sets [the musicians] apart is probably the passion they play with and even some of the different artists they’ve collaborated with over the years,” Swanson said. “They’ve had great experience working with artists from a lot of different backgrounds, and I think that’s helped them really become well-known.”

Yarrow said he expects a very entertaining show, one that people with varying interests in music can enjoy. Yarrow attributes the band’s appeal to wide ranges of interests to its complex and fascinating levels in the words and music.

“It’s really smart and interesting music,” Yarrow said. “But also very visceral at the same time.”

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