“I shall proceed and continue to rock the mic.”
With vinyl sales going through the roof over the last couple of years, I’ve seen a lot of re-releases and reissues. Some are fine, some are “why would anyone ever think this was a good thing to put out in the world, again?” and some are “If you told me I had to physically fight someone to get a copy of this… I’d be all right with that, actually.”
That last category holds a very few albums for me. The massive 4-LP reissue of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is one. The Prince Sign “O” The Times box set is another. And now, there’s the reissue of The Roots’ major-label debut, Do You Want More?!!!??!
I feel like this album was underappreciated back in 1995 (and my admittedly lazy research bears this out, as its highest Billboard 200 chart position was a criminal 104), but calling it a classic of hip-hop jazz is still underselling it. And now is the perfect time for a reevaluation, thanks to the deluxe 3-LP and 4-LP box sets. Yes, I know you can get it in a streaming format but this is one of those you’re going to want on vinyl.
The original tracks have been remastered and they sound fantastic. The drums in the title track hit loud and clean, and the turntables and vocals pop; nothing is lost or muddled. The complex instrumentation and rhythms of “What Goes On Pt. 7” are perfect, and the mix sets a deep soundscape whether you’re on $1K speakers or $30 headphones. “You Ain’t Fly” is an amazing volume-up deep listen.
The true test of any deluxe edition, though, is the bonus material. Some sets have a bunch of baffling remixes and unfinished demos but, thankfully, that’s not the case here. The alternate versions of “Proceed” on the third LP all feel distinct and worthy of their own release. The “Silent Treatment” remixes run the gamut from subtle to “this isn’t the same song at all” but they’re all good.
If you’re an old Roots-head from the 90s, this deluxe version is essential listening. If you just know the Roots as Fallon’s house band… first of all, welcome. Second, there’s no better place to get started than the definitive version of this classic.
Stream it, Buy it, Skip it?: The vinyl releases for these are just gorgeous and already occupy a prime spot as a jewel of my collection.