It’s the realization of a long-held dream that was seeded at the start of the new millennium, when amid Joburg’s buzzing underground scene two young artists from Port Elizabeth met and combining their creativity, forged a lifelong spiritual connection.
MXO was an aspiring hip-hop artist, who had never performed with live instruments, and SLIQ ANGEL was budding songwriter and skilled guitarist.
They shared a common affinity for the Eastern Cape, mostly the Xhosa sound. But jamming together they created a new mixture, an innovative and relevant style of music, and forged a lifelong spiritual connection.
They performed regularly at legendary spaces and places like Jungle Connection, Supperclub, Tandoor, Times Square, Opikoppi Festival, and more, and their fan base has since grown.
MXO explains: “We were just free-styling…it was through public demand that we formed Roots 2000”
And as this dynamic duo they were known to have “revolutionized the art form, the poetry, everything…”
“We all started the movement way back – a movement that enabled us to go places, to conquer place, not just for us…it was a starting point for everyone” says Sliq Angel.
They both credit this collaboration as a crucial launching pad for their individual careers; and it also offered a platform for other artists, poets and performers.
At that time, artists like Lebo Mashile, Tumi Molekane and Dineo Pule where starting out, and found an audience on Roots 2000 stage…
And “so was Simphiwe Dana, who came & played a Jill Scott song with us”
They were asked to open for Blk Sonshine [who were big at the time], and inspired Brenda Fassie to join in the jam!
“It was a family space where everyone felt the freedom…those were really nice times…there was one culture!”
Their first song together was “ZandIbone”, which has subsequently become one of MXO’s signature tracks, and he says:
“Roots 2000 was about roots & culture, a feeling of belonging, the amazement of people, a spiritual connection, the Arts, the freedom, the expression, seeing your ambition being fulfilled, loved, contentment…the hippy lifestyle!
Their fanbase grew, and they were offered deals, but in 2003, when Sliq Angel had the opportunity to go to New York, they split and went their separate ways, they each pursued interesting solo careers.
“Since then, we’ve been doing our own stuff, but we’ve been talking about it for a few years now…
“So this is the year! Hip-hop needs The Roots 2000”, says MXO.
And Sliq adds: “Reuniting, coming-of-age, a transition… I’ve been waiting for this forever….it’s about bringing back the jamming culture, ‘because that’s where we started.”
They have both matured musically, and Sliq Angel insists that it has to be a ‘live’ experience…
“…to see it visually, feel the spirit…you have to get moved by that spirit…by MXO’s energy and by Sliqangels’ energy…it’s a time bomb!”