James Brown was the hardest working man in show business, but Black Thought is at least on the shortlist. The frontman of the legendary Roots crew is on your television screen every night, but he's trying to transcend Mr. Kimmel on his latest project: Teaming up with J. Period, Black Thought has crafted a live mixtape that pays tribute to the great Brown. Dubbed The Live Mixtape (JB Edition), the 35-minute set burns through an impressive list of the soul legend's greatest hits, adding lyrics and breakdowns on the fly. J. Period loops in Brown's vocals, making for a striking intersection between off-the-cuff twists and turns and some of the most recognizable songs in the American canon.

The Roots' most recent album, released almost exactly a year ago, was ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin, a brief concept album that broached the violence rampant in hip-hop since the group's mid-'90s debut. As with most of their later-period material, the album was roundly praised by critics and found its way onto a number of year-end lists. The group first tasted national fame around the turn of the century with the platinum-selling Things Fall Apart, which sported the Grammy-winning single "You Got Me."