These days, the Roots, in their capacity as Tonight Show house band, are busy enough that they are not going to come out with a new song unless someone writes a check. Case in point: “Champion,” written to be the theme song for NBA Finals. Or take the new song “Bittersweet,” a commissioned work for Stella Artois. The Roots recorded two versions of the Afrobeat-indebted song — one percussively “bitter” and one melodically “sweet” — though they both have the same Black Thought verse. It’s a goofy concept, and this is very plainly a track written with corporate interests in mind, but it’s still fun to hear this band at work together, finding a groove. Listen to both versions of the song below, via Nah Right.
Honestly, though, isn’t it incredible that the Legendary Roots Crew have become a commercially viable enterprise? And that they didn’t have to join the jam-band circuit to do it?