Jimmy Fallon has announced that the Roots will be his “house band” when he takes over Conan’s late-night time slot. Wow. What an amazing step down for the Philly institution. Fallon made the announcement via video on his website. This past spring, the Roots released its most political album yet with Rising Down which featured an awesome Wale track. Here’s what we had to say about Phrenology from back in 2002.

But damn if this news isn’t kinda sad. To see hip-hop’s best band do time on a (probably) lame late-night variety show is insulting. A couple of reasons for this move may be at play: The Roots don’t sell that well; the record industry is hurting (especially hip-hop sales), and the band members are getting older (the band has been around for close to two decades).

Still. This is sad.

Gawker beat me to it:

“I’ve never had a group that I actually like go the late night house band route. Springsteen fans saw Max Weinberg take his act to Conan’s show; and I’m sure there were some jazz heads who were flabbergasted to see their main man Kevin Eubanks signing up with Jay Leno. But The Roots? The Illadelph generals opening up for that stuttering mop-headed ball of suck, Jimmy Fallon? It’s kind of tragic.

On one hand, we’ll get to see The Roots on TV every night; on the other hand, Black Thought opening for Jimmy Fallon every night is the cultural equivalent of Miles Davis playing his horn on the subway platform to back up a semi-trained dancing spider monkey.”

*photo courtesy of the Village Voice.

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