Well here is the new album by the Roots, and with their last two releases, 1999's Things Fall Apart
and 2002's Phrenology
setting foot on new ground in the hip hop industry and continuing to innovate the genre. in fact, with each release it seems that the roots keep improving on their genre of jazz-based hip hop and continue to move further away from the "norm" with increasingly conceptual lyrics, solid live instrumentation, and unorthodox structure of songs (at least for hip hop).
...that is well, except for this album, as the band has gone through some drastic changes, that i will explain. first thing first is the reduction of the band to a four-piece, of BT, ?uest, kamal, and hub. gone is not only malik b., who was absent from the last album, but scratch and rahzel, and guitarist ben kinney if you want to count him. though the scratch and rahzel were seldom used and more seen as a novelty, their abscence gives the album an empty feel. but more so this empty feel seems to be due to the lack of keys on the album. gone are the sonic textural washes that enriched and refined the musical backdrop, and thus giving the roots a distinct sound. ironically, the band's sound has moved in a very staunch neo-soul direction- which would argubly demand more keys. as since the roots' last two big hits, "you got me" and "break you off" were based in this genre, they seem to have made this decision based on attracting more radioplay and less on continuing to set themselves apart from their contemporaries.
however this not to say that the album is entirely bad, ?uestlove for the most part fills in plenty of the aforementioned aural void created by the lack of keys and the departure of scratch and rahzel with his killer solid beats, and there are indeed plenty of them. as well Black Thought, was lyrics are beginning to become hackneyed and redundant, varies his vocal style immensely. thus this album is almost in a sense puts the listener in a sense of love it or hate it as they listen to the album in its entirety, so here is the track by track review:
: the album kicks off with a fairly mellow number that samples Sly and the Family Stone. for the most part the drums and bass work very solid together and Black Thought's rapping is enjoyable but a sense of [review not completed]