Photos taken by Andre L. Perry (@PerryLPerry) for Okayplayer.
The year was 1999.
Hip-hop was coming down from the Jiggy Era and grounding itself in the minutiae of everyday living and surviving. Still reeling from the senseless losses of The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur a few years prior, the culture needed a boast, a shot in the arm full of realness and excitement that had been missing for awhile.
Enter: The Roots.
The celebrated band from Philly had already earned the respect of the hip-hop community with their innovative blend of hip-hop, funk, jazz and live instrumentation, but in 1999, The Roots upped it to another level with their breakthrough classic, Things Fall Apart. Released February 23, 1999 on Geffen Records, the hip-hop landscape was ripe for something fresh.
To commemorate the legacy of this Grammy Award winning effort — the Okayplayer Shop is unveiling this anniversary, concert-style tour tee to launch our Spring 2017 collection. 1999 was certainly a powerful year for music, as New York’s Electric Lady Studios was lit aflame with genius contributions from the aforementioned Roots Crew, Erykah Badu (Mama’s Gun), D’Angelo (Voodoo) and Common (Like Water for Chocolate).
Things Fall Apart, a landmark effort from the hardest working band in the game, swelled The Roots into a movement-style posse as songs like “The Next Movement,” “Dynamite!” and “You Got Me” topped the charts and earned them their first Grammy distinction. The tour, which was an affair in and of itself, served as the world’s first introduction to Jill Scott ahead of her own Hidden Beach debut, Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1, released in 2000.
As of April 2013, Things Fall Apart has since went on to be certified platinum in sales, but that moment in 1999 will forever be cherished.
Real hip-hop fans no matter what generation you’re from should own this revered piece of history. Check out the slideshow above and then head over to OKP Shop to cop your own tee and be 100% Dundee wherever you go.