Why We Picked This
Michael Penn II: Why’d we pick How I Got Over for RHH this month?
Andrew Winistorfer: We picked The Roots because we’re obviously really big fans. I don’t know if there’s anybody on the music team who doesn’t have a favorite Roots record; if you listen to rap music, you definitely have to at least reckon with them. The Roots are doing a lot of reissues of their catalog — over Record Store Day, some stuff on their own Okayplayer label — and we really zeroed in on this for RHH because it feels like a good album from this decade; we wanted to do something more recent.
How I Got Over, in a weird way, sort of gets forgotten in their catalog. It’s not necessarily the first one that people think of when they think of The Roots. And that part of it also speaks to what we do here: a lot of what we’re doing is the record that you might not remember from a group, or realize is as classic as some of their other stuff. This record [is] the one that they experimented with indie rock-sounding stuff; you can hear the influence of them being the house band on Fallon and seeing Monsters of Folk, and Dirty Projectors, and other indie bands on the show that they wouldn't have seen otherwise had on them.
You said earlier this is the record you sort of discovered them on, right?
Well, yes and no: other than Rising Down, this was the record I gravitated toward the most as far as a full LP. Obviously, I was really diving into music when they were later on in their careers; I was still finding stuff from blogs, that’s how I really came into contact with them. I also heard them in spaces without realizing it was them — they were always kinda omnipresent — but this was a record that stuck with me a lot. Especially “Dear God 2.0,” that record’s unbelievable to me.
Yeah, it’s so good. And Black Thought on this record! I think everybody knows that he’s a really technically great MC, but I think his songwriting — as he’s gone on in his career — it feels like he’s getting new things to dissect about himself. How he’s feeling, what he’s thinking, what the world is like; that’s a benefit of watching an artist over a career, we’ve watched how his songwriting changed over the years.
Especially considering how he’s gone on a crazy feature tear, and done a lot of solo work recently: He can rap super-hard and aggressively, but still be so respectful. Like, he’s one of the most respectful disrespectful rappers I’ve heard… maybe ever. There’s such grace, and poise, and class.
In a weird way, them being on The Tonight Show, Black Thought doesn’t have to really prove anything anymore. That can make you a very annoying and bad rapper, but in his case, he’s just really bold and doesn’t really care, but also does not need to cut your head off on a verse anymore. He will, but the songwriting will kill you in a way that nobody else’s can. He’s put in his 10,000 hours; he’s just on a different level than other MCs.
And the fact that the band has stayed together — they’re like 25 years deep at this point — and none of their records necessarily sound the same. Rising Down is pretty different from How I Got Over. They’re a band that also has a rapper who’s evolving at the same pace as their sound. They’re an incredible band, and that’s why we picked this Record of the Month.
What’s the packaging looking like?
For the first time, we’re doing the pinwheel style — almost like a peppermint — but it’s clear and silver, so it looks like a propeller on your turntable. The package is a single-pocket jacket, but it’s shiny and glossy on the outside; same like we’ve done with Method Man and OutKast. Cut DMM at GZ, like the best sounding of our rap records.