21. The Roots
Years on Def Jam: 2005-Present
Signature Def Jam Song: "How I Got Over" (2009)
Although they started as little more than a hip-hop cover band, The Roots gradually found their feet as progenitors of the boom bap for the conscious set. When Jay-Z became Def Jam's president one of his most underappreciated moves was that be brought the Roots over to Def Jam. But as Questlove once told us, "Jay-Z said, 'Nah man, if y'all do a record, I want y'all to do a real Roots record. Don't like figure out what Jay-Z wants because then I'ma look like the bad guy that killed y'all.'" After dropping some excellent albums on Def Jam, we're happy to say The Roots are alive and well.