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Sixty Seconds with Ahmir ?uestlove Thompson

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Indy: For years the Roots have been known as the premier live act in hip-hop, but partly because hip-hop artists in general have not put that much effort into live performance. Does it bother you that other artists don't put more emphasis on their concerts?

A?T: They are starting to do that now, and it's scaring the shit out of me ... [Kanye West], he's taking the whole idea of just the show to a different place now ... So to me, it is getting better. For now, I hear that's the tour to beat.

Indy: The previous studio CD, Game Theory, was done at a time when the group was having troubles with its former record company, Geffen. And in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I know your vocalist, Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter, had children in New Orleans and the band had friends there as well. How was the atmosphere different when you made the new CD, Rising Down?

A?T: Game Theory was coming from, it was a very sad, extreme place ... It dealt a lot with death. It dealt a lot with confusion. But really, I just feel like [Rising Down] is the sound of anger.

Indy: You've called Rising Down the Roots' most political album, and certainly it has sharp commentary on the Bush administration. It seems there haven't been many topical songs in hip-hop lately. What's your take?

A?T: Really, hip-hop has had such an I guess you could say apolitical nature in the last year and a half or two years ... Basically, I think what the Bush administration has done to some people has just rendered them numb. At the Mile High Music Festival in Commerce City, July 20.

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