Review Summary: Bonafide classic, you feel me?
I don't care for a lot of new hip-hop. I hated the Carter IV, I wasn't really feeling Cole World: The Sideline Story, and Take Care was more of Sade and Keith Sweat's love child than a rap album. And I feel like the root of the problem is the lyricism, because all of the beats were on par. But when it comes to The Roots, you're dealing with Langston Hughes poeticism, backed by music that sounds like Arcade Fire. Their music is like a perfect analogy for a win-win situation.
"Hit me up at Black Thought (dot)/ .gov like the government..."
Like whoa. That's when the album became alien. It became a monster. I was really feelin' the first two tracks, but when he said THAT, my mind blew up. It's ATCQ lyricism with that indie rock background. Then he goes on to say that he's a "Banana Republican". Like who comes up with stuff? Black Thought. That's why they're the greatest Hip-Hop band recording now. Epic.
Now, when it comes to the music behind the bonafide, ingenious, alien brain harvesting, mind boggling, scientific pondering lyrics, there's no better tracks. The instruments really shine on A Peace of Light, because that intro vocal supremeness is so minimalist that it's one of the most grand tracks on the album. I personally think it's my favorite, because the arrangement is so awesome because no one has ever thought of that. And it's only the intro. Things get more awesome the further we dive into this classic album. Following that is Walk Alone, which has some of the most meaningful lyricism that I've heard in a while. It's superfluously overflowing with idioms, metaphors, and double, triple, and even QUADRUPLE entendres(I don't know... don't go try to find them either... it's just hyperbole for the sake of writing). The haunting chorus is a Pièce de résistance, and it brings the song to a whole new meaning and depth. I especially love the piano in the background. Not to mention ?uestlove's superb percussion in the back. I don't think I hear a bass line throughout the whole song, which is a nice accent.
Dear God 2.0 is heroic. If you're a true music fan, you've heard of the Beatles. And if you listen to The Beatles, then you've listened to Abbey Road. And if you've listen to Abbey Road, then you've heard the song I Want You (She's So Heavy). Right when you start to drown in the killing guitar and drum loop, the music cuts off. It's so depressing it makes you feel like somebody just took your breath away. Like somebody just pulled the plug on your life. That's what The Roots did on Dear God 2.0. After the second verse, the music stops for a short moment, cutting you off from that extra life that you had swimming around in the music. But once it's off, they turn it back on, and your face flushes with blood and you're back. Pure excellence.
Radio Daze is tied for my 3 favorite songs on the album, because the flow is so casually brilliant that you fail to understand it. I usually put Radio Daze-How I Got Over in a medley type group, because the simple flowing style with the backing laid back groove is like classic R&B and Jazz. But the simple flowing style is accompanied by perfect lyricism. Just look at this:
Fogging my glasses, lost in a mass mess
Task-less dilemma to match somebody's status...
Like... what? What did he just call me? I was feeling the vibe, but then he said that and I just dropped my jaw. If I could write like that, I'd have four record deals, you feel me? Musically, the song was already great, but then he just dropped this bomb on us like: "Word, I know you like it, but now... I'm gonna make you want to fornicate with it, dog...." Fantastic line.
Skipping over to The Day, I felt like this album had to have it's weird part. The Day and Right On were the most off parts of the album, which is why I love them. I listened to The Day and I could just see myself looking out the window on an autumn evening across the Auburn Sky while my best girl sits next to me with her head on my shoulders as she whispers into my ear, "You're the one I've been waiting my whole life for...". I love this track, man. I really love Black Thought's sly fellatio joke. "I Need the girl of my dreams to give me Einstein...". Well played, bro... well played. And Right On is like it's twin sister. The twin sister who while you were at basketball practice, she was outside protesting the inequalities of women in society, while she rolled up a blunt and supported the 402 act. That sister, the eco-friendly, vegan, Mystery Machine, sunglass wearing sister that is nothing like you. That sister whom no matter how different you guys act, you guys are practically the same.
Here's my contender for best song on the album: Doin' It Again. I love the sample because it was like a foreshadowing like, "Yo, we MIGHT DO AN ALBUM WITH THIS GUY..". Black Thought absolutely murders his verses. The Let's Do It Again reference makes me laugh. This track really makes me feel good because the piano combined with John Legend's moans are kind of reminiscent of Something by The Beatles, and that song makes me cry all the time. (And I'm hip-hop all day).
And here's a 2nd contender: The Fire. I felt like they were in their natural element when they made this track. Nuff said.
Altogether at the end, Web 20/20 and Hustla are kind of reminders of what ATCQ did with Scenario and What?. So, all in all, the end of the album wasn't all that amazing. But I'd rather listen to those two songs than The Carter IV. Hands down, no competition.
All together, How I Got Over is a smashing classic for all Hip-Hop fans, Jazz fans, and R&B fans alike. I can't think of any better album for 2010 other than Brothers by the Black Keys. But I'll write that review later.