The Roots were once buried in rap's underground, toiling in the kind of obscurity that heady, abrasive underground rap records from Philadelphia are bound to lead you to. Then there was the "What They Do" video, then Things Fall Apart, then the Grammy for "You Got Me." From there, they were off to the critical and commercial races, churning out album after album of thought provoking music that pushed Black Thought to open up and become more introspective. (They also undoubtedly benefit from rockist attitudes among mainstream critics, but that's beside the point.) They surprised fans and observers when they became the house band for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, but the move has put them on stages with entertainment's biggest stars. Now, the legendary crew is expanding into a frontier they've yet to conquer: Broadway musicals.

The band will executive produce the original cast soundtrack for Hamilton, the hip-hop musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton. The show, which is in previews right now, has been the subject of rave reviews, and opens full on August 7. Black Thought calls it a "valid and credible" introduction to the genre; ?uestlove called it a "sucker punch." The soundtrack will be released through Atlantic Records this fall (the date has yet to be announced) but will be available for pre-order as soon as the show opens its run at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on W. 46 St. Hamilton, one of the country's founding fathers, will soon abdicate his spot on the $10 bill in favor of an accomplished woman.

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