Slow Jamming The News With Barack Obama
It’s not often that the President of the United States makes a late night television appearance, but it’s not unheard-of, either. Then again, the appearance usually breaks down into little more than a softball-filled, mildly interesting Q&A section where Obama can legitimately defend his positions in a mostly controlled environment. It’s not often that a late night host gets to refer to him as “The Preezy Of The United Steezy.” But with The Roots laying down the background and donating their ineffable cool to Fallon, that’s exactly what happened in April 2012 while the Prez was heating up his re-election campaign. And the Barackness Monster made for some wildly entertaining television.
Kanye West, “Bound 2″ featuring Charlie Wilson and The Roots
With Kanye making the promotional rounds supporting Yeezus, Charlie Wilson’s turn on “Bound 2″ was making its way into mainstream conversations, and Kanye’s lyrics were, as usual, at the center of the debate. But the remixed version Yeezys did with The Roots and a live choir on Fallon was one of the greatest performances in the show’s history, with Wilson belting his heart out and ‘Ye switching up lines like “Have you ever asked your chick for other chickens?” and “One good girl is worth a thousand chickens.” Classic.
The History Of Rap
One of the best running segments on the show was Fallon’s Justin Timberlake-assisted series “The History Of Rap.” The four installments saw the host trading verses with Timberlake over The Roots’ solid backing, running through classic hip-hop jams and connecting the thread of the genre through ten-second mashups. The four segments are tied together in one 20-minute clip, above, and it’s crazy worth it to watch, for both the hilarity and the karaoke aspect. And the crowd, predictably, explodes as Timberlake leads them into “Empire State Of Mind.” From Kurtis Blow to Snoop to Kanye, and everything in between, they cover just about all their bases.
Behind The Scenes, Episode One
March of 2009 came with a lot of nerves and a lot of questions, and Okayplayer documented the entire first show from behind the scenes. Watching Kirk, Quest and Tariq prep for their house band debut is as entertaining as it is interesting; five years later, it would be fascinating to see how things changed. As of right now, we’ve still got this little time capsule, where the band talks about 30 Rock’s lack of toilets, beat-boxes their way through some last-minute preparations, and generally gets out their anxieties. Questlove’s bow tie is, of course, the video’s main star.