Part of the Roots crew, Dice Raw stands on his own

You don't see Dice Raw with The Roots on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" but the North Philly rapper/producer/songwriter played an integral part of the hometown hip-hop heroes newest release "Undun."

Dice Raw, born Karl Jenkins, sings on "Lighthouse," and "One Time" two fan favorites on "Undun" and co-wrote and sings or raps on several other songs from the record. A longtime collaborator of The Roots, Dice's contributions to "Undun" and 2010's "How I Got Over," seem to be bringing him the attention he deserves. Dice's "The Greatest Rapper Never: Preservation" has been selling steadily since its June release on his label, Raw Life. He is also working with up and coming R&B singer Tess Henley, who won a MySpace contest and decided to spend her prize money hiring him to produce her debut LP.

Dice Raw in ?uestlove's studio. (Photo: David L. Powell III)

As for his songwriting process, Dice says the music speaks to him. "Usually I hear the music and the music's like 'Yo, say this on top of me' and I'm like 'OK music, I'll do that.' And it comes out cool," he explains. "I know what the beat is saying cause I listen to so much music aside from hip-hop. Sometimes I'll sing, sometimes I'll rap something," says Dice who grew up dabbling in drums, horns and violin.

Dice and The Roots are off at month's end to Indianapolis to perform at a Super Bowl party as well as broadcast "Late Night" for the entire week since NBC is airing the game this year.

* Speaking of the Roots the group's leader/drummer, ?uestlove, had about 2,000 people dancing at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Saturday night while he served as DJ for an opening-night party for photographer Zoe Strauss' exhibit, which runs there through April. State Rep. Tony Payton was among partygoers enjoying the sights and sounds.

* On another musical note, Lana Del Rey, the musical guest on last weekend's "SNL," enlisted veteran Philadelphia cellist/arranger Larry Gold to arrange and record the string sections on her album "Born to Die," out Jan. 31. Gold was also working recently with R. Kelly, who has been in town on and off for a few years recording with Gold at his longtime Center City facility, the Studio, adjacent to the Electric Factory. Gold recently sold the Studio to Milkboy but continues to work and record there.

Read more from our column in Monday's Daily News.