The Roots Rising Down
The Roots are set to release Rising Down on April 29th via Def Jam Recordings. Known for their prolific lyrics and live instrumentation, the Legendary Philadelphia crew is composed of Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter (vocals), Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson (drums), Kamal Gray (keyboards), Frank Knuckles (percussion), Kirk “Captain Kirk” Douglas (guitar) and Owen Biddle (bass). Garnering critical praise throughout their career, The Roots have firmly established themselves as a band with uncompromised artistic control and integrity. With Rising Down, the band’s 10th album release, The Roots continue to take bolder steps adding new depths and range to their repertoire. The Roots co-founder ?uestlove states, “This is probably our most political album to date dealing with addiction, nihilism, hypocritical double standards in the prison system and overall life in Philadelphia.
According to the New York Times this album is, "the most potent Roots release since the one-two punch of “Things Fall Apart” and its predecessor, “Illadelph Halflife” (Geffen). I can't speak to that yet as I haven't heard this album, but I do know that the song, "Rising Up," could very well be my anthem. There's a strong go-go character to this song that reminds of the go-go music that seemed particular to the D.C./Virginia when I was growing up in the happier and more fruitful days of 90's hip-hop. The hook speaks directly to my attitude about radio for more than a decade: "Yesterday I saw a b-girl crying. I walked up and asked what's wrong. She told me the radio's been playing the same song all day long. "
This is an interesting album. Personally, it seems like an unpolished stream of consciousness compared to the rest of their body of work. There are definitely some gems on here like "Rising Down" (Mos Def delivers a dope verse) and "Unwritten", but in it's entirety, it doesn't do the Roots sounds justice and pales in comparison to "Things Fall Apart" and "Illadelphalflife". It's worth picking up nonetheless, as is any Roots release.
I could listen to Birthday Girl over and over again. Other faves: rising up, rising down