My discovery of Rootbound was borne from a mutual appreciation of lyricism. One of the members of the group was an early participant in my Mic Math Monday discussions (currently on hiatus). Based on his input and outlook on creative writing it was clear that he was passionate about the music. That was enough to pique my interest, and when he mentioned that he was also a local artist as part of a group called Rootbound I suggested he drop off some music for me to check out, which resulted in me hearing their self-titled 11-track project.
Although the crew has a presence online with various social media outlets, there is still a rather limited amount of information about the group out there—and currently, that is the way they like it. When I asked my connect in the group for more info, he replied, “We don’t really have a “bio” and no (in-depth) website. We’re a bit elusive like that. What I can tell you is that we’re three musically minded individuals from Minneapolis, coming together for the a common cause of providing conscience, thought provoking, positive music to not only the hip-hop community, but everyone else in between. The website is simple right now because we wanted to see if playing the mysterious role would attract any attention…”
Being a bit of a mystery man myself I can appreciate some anonymity and appreciate that instead they choose to let the music speak for itself—and it is effective in doing just that. The instrumentation sounds like something that would be at home blaring out a dark and hazy club, a rock edge contrasted with a soulful feel that gives it a strong presence.
Thus far I’ve played two tracks from their album on H2 Local. “So Beautiful” is the track that initially was commanding of my listening attention. The vibe draws you in and then the first verse begins: “Since I can’t be putting people down for the way they gotta do it for themselves/I look inside myself and find the truth/Encrypted in a different language, spelled out in glyphics/I took a closer look and saw a reflection of my image/Just as history repeats itself, I do the same/Turning every stone, except my own to place the blame/And only when I stare into the mouth of this abyss/Can’t I let my image ago and simply let myself exist…”
Somehow “Last Breath” simultaneously sounds both feel-good and gloomy. The soulful and well-written hook is likely to get pleasantly stuck in your head. Matching perfectly with the chorus and music, the final verse experiments with creative cadence and exaggerated diction: “If this was my last breath…I’d gladly loan it to you if it meant for you to live/And it’s a man’s rep to do the best he can for his family and for his friends/You know it’s like a dance step, climbing out this rubble knowing one day that you’re going shine/But at the same time feeling like you’re the only one who’s been on your side/Now I’m thinking about my last prayer that I’mma have to spit to the lord ‘fore I close my eyes/Yeah, I’ve had some bad times, never regret, only build from the struggles in the past time/That why I’m destined to shine like the sun shining your eyes/On my last breath I realized, that I coulda been a lil’ bit more pin-point accurate on how this cat lived in his lifetime…”
Other tracks that immediately stood out to me are “Gold Bars,” “Too Grown,” and “Days In The Week,” but overall the self-titled project is a solid entry onto the MN hip hop scene. If I had to take a guess I would assume the music transfers well to a live setting, so I’d suggest keeping an eye out for any upcoming performances from the Rootbound crew (including this ConTRAst event at Honey on May 19) and in the process perhaps an in-person discussion might pull away some additional layers of the mystery. In the meantime, we are going to need to just be content enjoying the music.
–Kevin Beacham for H2 Local on The Current
Catch Kevin Beacham and Siddiq’s hip-hop show H2 every Wednesday night at 10 p.m. on 89.3 The Current. Their all-Minnesota hip-hop show, H2 Local, airs Tuesdays at noon and Wednesday nights at 11 p.m. on the Local Current stream. You can listen to the Local Current stream at thecurrent.org/local, on HD radio in the Twin Cities at 89.3 HD2, and via the MPR Radio app, which is available for iPhones and Androids.