Released: July 20, 1999

Songwriter: Black Thought

Producer: The Roots

*Black Thought speaks and makes crowd respond for a minute and 15 sec.*

[Black Thought]
Yo my definition is a lyricist for hire
My vocal's a passport that never expire
Crowd loud like fifty rounds of gun fire
Screamin out "The Roots" while I balance wit the wire
Yo, expert in this profession, the session
In 1987, I linked up wit the ?uestion
Eleven years later we shared crop wit Geffen
In musical hell, but hip-hop forever heaven
My thoughts, interwoven and deep like Beethoven
This foul world so filled of shit it like a clogged up colon
Swollen wit minds that got stolen
Fake-ass cops, uncontrollable patrolmen
Torture, blood flow like bodies of water
Fathers sexually assaultin they own daughter
Out of sync, outta order like a puzzle
In the land of the unseen hand that hold juggle
In a Game of Life, yo it's hard to roll a double
Tryin times, take lives and separate couples
Kids thinkin they grown, tellin they moms "Fuck you"
Under they breath, livin in the last times left
Peep the imagery stretch across the sky like a canvas
And we're the artists beneath vigorous rough strokes of darkness
Time to set it off, let's spark this
Switzerland, LET'S SPARK THIS!!
We are the ULTIMATE (rock-rockin it)
We are the ULTIMATE (rock-rockin it)
We are the ULTIMATE, rock-rockin it, rock-rockin it, rock-rockin it
We are the ULTIMATE (rock-rockin it)
We are the ULTIMATE LOUDER! (rock-rockin it)
We are the ULTIMATE
(Rock-rockin it) C'mon (Rock-rockin it) C'mon (Rock-rockin it)
Yo my definition is a lyricist for hire
You couldn't have a clue, it's about to transpire
The books I buy live arms ?I wire?
The Fifth, similar to ghetto gospel choir
We ex-plore the whole states plus record
In flight buds, trip that was a prisoner in war
Four-four the corridor, seal it, no floor
But I could see the drop was a mile aboard
To the bottom, electrical shock for rhymes
I said "I don't got em", guess it kinda presented a problem
When I understood, they said "Let him go"
I woke, during a center to London-Heathrow
And now wit a past, fuckin wit border patrol
I'm findin it out, I'm leakin wit my people
Hit the studio, spread this information
In daze of frustration fogged the education
]From Illa-Fifth to Switzerland destination
The Roots du journ, go check the translation
The dictionary of devout topics, far from ebonics
The Fifth Dynast, they can't stop it
Yo Zurlich y'all keep it tight heed
While The Roots Crew smoke weed
Yo, we are the ULTIMATE (rock-rockin it)
We are the ULTIMATE, say what? (rock-rockin it)
We are the ULTIMATE, c'mon
(Rock-rockin it) C'mon c'mon rock-rockin it, rock-rockin it
We are the ULTIMATE (rock-rockin it)
We are the ULTIMATE LOUDER (rock-rockin it)
(Rock-rockin it) C'mon rock-rockin it, rock-rockin it
They go *Thought starts humming and Scratch does his thing*
*Crowd cheers*

The Roots

The world’s premiere hip-hop band, The Roots were formed in Philadelphia in 1987 by MC Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and drummer and bandleader Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. Since those early days, the band has weathered changes in personnel and record labels while performing hundreds of shows a year and releasing a string of well-regarded (if not always top-selling) albums.

While the musicianship of Thompson and the other band members, as well as their seemingly limitless repertoire, gets most of the attention, real hip-hop fans know that the rapping skills of Black Thought (along with former group member Malik B.) are the group’s hidden weapon. Thought, one of the few MCs brave enough to go toe to toe with Big Pun, handles any groove the band throws at him with aplomb, style, and flash.

Today, The Roots are seen by millions every night as the house band on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, a move that has given the group the chance to indulge its not-insignificant comic side.