Last July, The Roots linked up with fellow Philly native Bilal for “It Ain’t Fair”, their powerful contribution to the soundtrack for Kathryn Bigelow’s polarizing film Detroit. On Wednesday night, Jimmy Fallon’s house band walked down the hallway for an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers. With Bilal in tow, they delivered a passionate performance of the politically driven track. Watch it up above.
On the latest episode of Song Exploder, Roots drummer Questlove broke down the making of “It Ain’t Fair”. In addition to revealing that Curtis Mayfield’s song “The Other Side of Town” served as an inspiration for the track, he admitted that his own group’s MC, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, wasn’t his first choice to write the lyrics to the song.
“I never once thought that Tariq could handle that task, and I live for The Roots being underestimated,” Questlove said. He added that Black Thought nailed his vision for the song with lyrics about racial injustice and police brutality.
In case anybody else needed to be reminded of Black Thought’s abilities, the MC stopped by Funkmaster Flex in December for a jaw-dropping 10-minute freestyle. Revisit it below.