5 Hip Hop Artists With Live Backing Bands
  • FRIDAY, JANUARY 01, 2016

  • Posted by: Evan Jake Goldstein

While the use of samples and pre recorded tracks has been a big part of hip hop since its genesis, some artists have decided that the accompaniment of a live band can take recording and live performances to a whole new level. We found five of the best examples of this and are officially endorsing that any young artists out there consider taking this approach.

The Roots

Well, this is the obvious answer but The Roots are the ultimate "hip hop band" with eight members, all of which masters of their craft. There's a reason why Jimmy Fallon calls them "The greatest band in late night." Their improvisational skills can not be matched with stellar (and I suspect telepathic) communication, making them the closest thing to a hip hop jam band in existence.




Beastie Boys

My three favorite mench-cees from the NYC, the Beasties started out as a punk outfit,so naturally when they transitioned to hip hop, they took their instruments with them. They were so well known for playing their own instruments at live shows, whenever I hear from somebody I know that they saw the Beasties live, the first question I (enviously) ask is "Did they play their own instruments?"



Outkast

Wait, wait, wait...is that an acoustic guitar I see? I can't believe my eyes! I knew Andre was wacky, but this is unheard of! I see this as further evidence of Outkast's genre-bending abilities and their habit of constantly broadening the definition of what hip hop can be.



Kendrick Lamar

Aside from being my favorite rapper and in my opinion the voice of a (my) generation, Kendrick's respect for live instrumentation especially after To Pimp A Butterfly is something I couldn't possibly be happier to see. In fact his tour for the album was dubbed the "Kunta Jam Sessions" because that's exactly what they were, jam sessions of the highest and funkiest caliper.



Childish Gambino

Aside from being a renaissance man in every sense of the title, Childish Gambino's production oriented approach to his music has lead him to opt for a live band accompanying him on tour and in the studio; a decision I hope and think many others will begin to agree with while we anticipate "The Shape Of Hip Hop To Come." (You're welcome Donald, there's your next album title.)


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