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Album Review

A stylistic improvement over its predecessor, Grassroots presents a more focused and inventive 311, evenly balancing the band's rap-metal intensity with reggae vibrations, Grateful Dead-like jams, and hallucinogenic ambience. Perhaps one of the 1994's most underrated releases, Grassroots artistically ignores corporate rock's temptations of conformity, which consequently threaten the possibility of mainstream airplay. Despite suffering from relative obscurity, 311's sophomoric effort remains an invigorating listen, and its multi-tempo compositions flow together remarkably from the grinding guitar assault of "Homebrew" through the laid-back Caribbean groove of "1,2,3." In addition, Nick Hexum's and S.A. Martinez' potent alteration between rap and melodic vocals represents a polished development over Music's comparatively inferior efforts. While Grassroots lacks any hit-worthy singles, it does offer plenty of highlights including the rhythmically eclectic "Omaha Stylee," the desirous sing-along "8:16 A.M.," and funky hip-hop/rock hybrid "Applied Science." The album's remaining tracks prove equally essential as they individually piece together the Grassroots puzzle, which combined provides a splendid overview of 311's signature diversity. Unfortunately, the overall muddy production undermines P-Nut's bass wizardry and transforms Chad Sexton's drumkit into an assemblage of garbage cans and cardboard boxes. Despite the less-refined outturn, Grassroots remains 311's finest moment artistically, and listeners of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sublime, and Rage Against the Machine will find this CD an indispensable addition to their music collections. ~ Jacob N. Lunders, Rovi

Customer Reviews

the deepest dream we have could be...

i could write forever about this album. ill spare the encyclopedia-sized review and just say that even 5 stars cannot do "grassroots" justice. some of these songs mean more to me than could ever be expressed in words. itd be cliche to say a band changed my life, but this one certainly made it a little better. this was the first 311 cd i bought and i initially wrote it off. its funny how sometimes the greatest music we own, takes the longest time to grow on us.

The Real 311

This album is pure 311. It seems like every song of Grassroots comes from, well, the grassroots. One of their best connections of work. If you want to start listening to 311 start at Grassroots and work your way up through the rest of the band's albums. It doesn't get much better than this.

311 at its Best

I started listening to 311 around 1995 (I was about 16), and since then I've realized that I can separate phases of my life based on 311 albums that came out :) I started with the self-titled album, then Grassroots, then found a guy with the original cds / tapes of "Hydroponic", "Dammit!", and the other one (sorry my mind is blanking out) from the omaha days. I love Grassroots! Awesome guitar work, catchy riffs, and just that sense that it was the early / mid 90s and alt rock was at its peak. "Taiyed" and "Homebrew" are my favorite tracks - I had Taiyed memorized for years lol. Omaha Stylee, Grassroots, and Six are all head boppers and make you want to turn the volume up! As always, 311 managed to throw in a few slower songs that are catchy and chill. If you're gonna listen to 311, this should be among the first albums to listen to. "Music" is another good one, but if you can find the original versions of the songs on Music (ie, from Dammit!, Hydroponic, possibly Omaha Sessions), I'd check those out first - Music kind of slowed down the tempo of some of the great tracks. Transistor is another great concept album - my personal favorite as I bought it a few days before I went away to college (again another phase). But yes, all in all, Grassroots is a classic alt-rock album and arguably 311's best.


Formed: 1990 in Omaha, NE

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

311's fusion of reggae and rap-metal began in Omaha, Nebraska, where singer/guitarist Nick Hexum, DJ/singer S.A. Martinez, guitarist Tim Mahoney, drummer Chad Sexton, and the bassist known only as P-Nut launched the group in 1990. Taking their name from the Omaha Police Department's code for indecent exposure, the quintet began performing locally and soon moved to Los Angeles, signing with Capricorn Records in 1991. 311 then translated their regional success into national recognition with several...
Full Bio
Grassroots, 311
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