Song: "Act Won (Things Fall Apart)" (1999)

The curtain opened on The Roots' fourth album, Things Fall Apart, with "Act Won," which contains a lengthy passage from Mo' Better Blues (1990). A debate between jazz musicians Bleek Gilliam (Denzel Washington) and Shadow Henderson (Wesley Snipes) about the perceived lack of support from the African American community is contrasted with similar sentiments about hip-hop music.

"If we had to depend upon black people to eat, we would starve to death," says Bleek. "I mean, you've been out there, you're on the bandstand, you look out into the audience, what do you see? You see Japanese, you see, you see West Germans, you see, you know, Slabobic, anything except our people—it makes no sense. It incenses me that our own people don't realize our own heritage, our own culture, this is our music, man." Shadow disagrees. "That's bullshit...the people don't come because you grandiose motherfuckers don't play shit that they like. If you played the shit that they like, then people would come, simple as that." Deciding who is right is part of what makes for a compelling intro.

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