Review Summary: It is these kind of club bangers that make R.O.O.T.S. a worthy record for a few spins on the dance floor, if nothing else.
The possessor behind arguably one of the hip-hop world’s best aliases, Tramar Dillard has been making club music for years since his teenage days with 2 Live Crew, but it was only until last year’s Mail on Sunday and the titanic single “Low” that Flo Rida became a household name. A little over a year later and now we have Routes of Overcoming The Struggle, or R.O.O.T.S., a record with a heavy name that is hardly reflective of its party nature.
Flo Rida will never be accused of being a serious artist, but him and his army of producers, which includes Timbaland, Danja, and will.i.am, know how to make a sick hit. The opening duo of “Finally Here” and “Jump” are two of the bounciest, accessible tunes on the record, the first quite effectively setting the tone of the record with its TGIF vibe and the later benefiting from a quirky electro hook and Nelly Furtado’s spot-on chorus.
Truly, what R.O.O.T.S. stands for is hardly an appropriate title for what is, at its core, a party record. A more appropriate one might have been B.S.T.S.M. (Bangin’ Singles To Sell Millions), or track “Mind on My Money,” which brags about how Flo’s “pockets are swoll” on top of a beat that probably cost a fair amount itself. Songs like the reflective title track or closer “Rewind” are too bland or stereotypical to stand up next to the infectiously catchy would-be singles that surround them. Lyrics like “I can’t hate where I’m from / because where I’m from make me” or the immensely cheesy wave-your-lighters-in-the-air sentiments of “Rewind” (replete with arching orchestral backing and choir) pale in comparison to Flo Rida’s strengths: namely, songs to dance to.
By now you and everyone else in the country has heard first single “Right Round,” which swipes the melody from the notorious Dead or Alive song, and it is these kind of club bangers that make R.O.O.T.S. a worthy record for a few spins on the dance floor, if nothing else. Although tracks like the nearly unbelievable “Sugar,” which is about as vapid as its name suggests, might make one imagine they’re listening to Lady GaGa, there’s enough future hits, from the techno-y “Touch Me” to requisite ballad “Be On You” (featuring, of course, Ne-Yo), to maintain Flo’s image.
Flo Rida has said that “there’s definitely something for everybody on this album” in an interview with Billboard, and this is undoubtedly true. But in his attempt to please everyone, R.O.O.T.S. denies the rapper any possibility of making an album that truly excels. Flo Rida is a competent lyricist and has enough money to cherry-pick any producer he should choose, and so it’s a bit disheartening to see him follow the same route that Mail on Sunday did: focusing on the cash potential of a predictable hit single. But then again, the two million-plus people who have already purchased “Right Round” can hardly be wrong, can they?