Exclusive: With just a tuba, drums and a guitar, ?uestlove explains how The Roots helped a catchy liquor campaign, as Black Thought expands into Rock vocals.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Grammy Award-winning Hip Hop band The Roots have partnered with Captain Morgan Spiced Rum for the pirate-inspired "Live Love and Loot" campaign. With their thirteenth studio album, Undun due later this year, the Def Jam Records collective made a special song just for the Captain.
Yesterday (October 25) The Roots' band-leader and drummer ?uestlove spoke with HipHopDX about the new sound heard on the song, premiered by Spin.com today (fans can also enter to go to Facebook to download the Rock-inspired "Live Love and Loot" track, and see the campaign's roll-out). The funky drummer also spoke about the crew using a tuba as a bass player, and overcoming skepticism of a corporate partnership of this kind.
?uestlove: We were so familiar with the TV campaign. We kind of figured that what we're normally known for wouldn't necessarily be a regular fit for a campaign. They kinda gave us a free will [ability] to kinda come and approach this in a very different manner, as in some sort of musical approach that we've never before. It's not that we weren't invested in doing Rock styles - we've done that before. It's just that as a powerful of being a tuba, guitar [and drums], how do you make that come across and come across heavy? [Black Thought] doesn't normally sign on Roots albums all that much, so we knew it would be a surprise for people, when you hear it. The challenge is really to make it concise in under a minute, and have some sort of adrenaline energy to it. It was a challenge but we rose to it.
DX: Did you have any reservations in working with big business? How do you feel about authenticity of campaigns like these in 2011? Are we getting a place?
?uestlove: There's no offer that we don't heavily scrutinize [before accepting]. [Laughs] We are artists; we are skeptical by nature. Captain Morgan is a very high-class product. Our main concern was presenting something that was just as high class, if you will. And to do it in such a short amount of time. Again, with the tuba as your bass player, that presents a lot of sonic challeges. We didn't have any reservations other than that.