The 10 Most Awesome Parts of The Roots x Backstreet Boys x Jimmy Fallon's 'I Want It That Way' Classroom-Instruments Video

Illustration for article titled The 10 Most Awesome Parts of The Roots x Backstreet Boys x Jimmy Fallon's 'I Want It That Way' Classroom-Instruments Video
Screenshot: “Classroom Instruments” The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon

1. Black Thought—possibly the greatest rapper of all time, in the back row in a white, cat-daddy ensemble, complete with white, cat-daddy hat—getting his entire life with a triangle.


2. Black Thought having possibly more fun than anybody else singing the greatest song to ever come out of the white boy-band phenomenon of the late ’90s.

3. Kevin Richardson in the back, next to Black Thought, looking like a mix between Snoop Dogg, Jim Morrison and the guy who sold me a box of paper at Staples last week. These guys are having way too much fun.

4. Brother Kamal Gray playing that tiny-ass Fisher Price My First Xylophone like he’s about to Roy Ayers the Fisher Price My First Xylophone game.

5. The Backstreet Boys singing that whole shit with their whole heart, probably wondering how in the fuck this song, which means absolutely nothing, managed to be such a cultural moment that, almost 20 years later, they’re on national television performing with kids’ instruments and the Legendary Roots Crew. Man, look at gawd.

6. I’ll bet they were all so on board with this after contemplating how infrequently real musicians get to do shit like this. What is this? Taking two groups who would otherwise have no reason to be on the same bill and having them orchestrate the most hilarious “shit your dad would do if he didn’t have to go to work” experience of all time.

7. ?uestlove is playing hand clappers. Let that sink in. Hand clappers. I’m not sure I ever once thought about those things as actual instruments as much as a way to double slap siblings who ain’t acting right.


8. I know this, and I know hardcore Roots heads know this, but maybe some others don’t: Since the mid-2000s, there has been a tuba-playing band member who goes by the name Tuba Gooding, Jr. And that is easily one of the greatest names of all time. What levels that shit up even more for this video? Fam ... he’s playing a kazoo. Tuba Gooding Jr. is playing a kazoo. That sounds like the name of a children’s book but here we are watching this happen on live television. Won’t he do it, he said he would, so I trust him at all times.

9. Um, they actually sound dope. That’s how you can tell there are actual musicians at work. If you have kids, you have many of those instruments littered about your home. And if you do, you realize how bad the sound is on many of them ... unless you actually know how to play them and you find a way to get the most efficient and rich sound out of them. That’s what we have here; a bunch of actual musicians got together to play with some kids’ toys and were able to re-create a song and make it sound good. Also, this has inspired me to want to do this at home with songs such as “Funky Cold Medina,” “Steal My Sunshine,” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” I just need a band.


10. I wonder if in 1999, the Roots, who had just dropped Things Fall Apart, their most successful (and best) album would have ever thought that in 2018, they’d be on national television nightly, having what looks like this much fun and getting paid to do it. I’ll bet they didn’t, but as a longtime fan, I’m here for it and love unconventional success in hip-hop. And I mostly love that a possible G.O.A.T. rapper is really having this much damn fun in life.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.



As s BSB fan (who has seen them in concert and in Vegas and they have special meaning to me) you forgot to mention they are all wearing white.

Which is what they wear in the video for the song.

So it’s even more epic, because this segment is usually not coordinated with outfits.

I love love love this.