Review Summary: After the disappointing and middling results of The Tipping Point, The Roots come back with their best album since Things Fall Apart.
After listening to The Tipping Point
, my expectations for this album was in the crossroads, although listening to "Don't Feel Right" made my longing for this album rise a bit. Once I did get this album and listened to it with my headphones, however, all fears and ill feelings carried from that album simply melted away. After the mellow opener "Dilltastic Vol. Won(derful)", False Media enters, depicting Black Thought as the President. At this point, Black Thought, and everyone involved, sounds more present and lively than ever before. Then, the fueled title track makes a strong statement that The Roots are back. Black Thought has not sounded this angry and energetic since Illadelph Halflife
. Then, a surprise comes at the end of the track: Malik B., originally the other main rapper of The Roots who left (or kicked out) due to wanting to stay at home than to tour (or because of his drug issues), comes in and adds an amazing finish to an already fantastic track.
After this, highlights just keep coming in a frantic pace. "In The Music" is the grittiest and darkest song The Roots can easily claim. Black Thought and Malik B. trade verses that fit the mood perfectly. "Baby" is easily the saddest song on the album, as Black Thought sing-raps about a female getting raped and another female finding out that her man is cheating on her. Thankfully, the guitar-and-keyboard-driven "Here I Come" is the most lively and fiery track on the album. Everything is just raved up, from the three rappers (Black Thought, Malik B. and Dice Raw) to the music from "Captain" Kirk Douglas and Kamal Gray to the percussion from F. Knuckles to finally the drums from the one and only "uestlove is simply amazing.
Something that is quite interesting is the fact that the first eight tracks are segued together, but the last five are not. However, this does not affect the quality of the album in the slightest. "Long Time" is a beautiful track about Philadelphia, where The Roots originated from. However, the most track that has the most intriguing beat is "Atonement", which uses a sample from Radiohead's "You and Whose Army"" from Amnesiac
, and makes great use of it. Then, the final track, "Can't Stop This," is an eight-and-a-half minute track dedicating the loss to J Dilla, a close friend to the band as a whole. Unlike all of their previous studio albums, each minute of this track is used, and does not hold a hidden track tacked at the end (unless this reader lives in the UK, Japan, or bought the album on iTunes, where "Bread and Butter" is a bonus track). However, this simply would have cheapen the effect this track has (and yes, although "Bread and Butter" is a good track, somehow the track would not fit successfully on Game Theory
So, this album ranks with Illadelph Halflife and Things Fall Apart as their best album they ever released. And it deserves to be.
TheSaneLunatic's Top Five Recommendations:
1. Game Theory
2. Here I Come
2. In The Music
4. False Media