Pound for pound, The Roots, may in fact be, the one of the most well “liked” group in all of music. Pretty much everybody in the world “likes” the Roots. You might hear people say: “The Roots? Yeah, I like that one song they did a while back. Yeah, they’re cool...” or “Oh, yeah I like them. I hear their pretty great live.” This, of course, is strange because the Roots have approximately 0.2 hit records to their credit. Now when I say that people “like” the Roots that does not predicate that people “love” or even consider themselves really “fans” of the group. It just suggests that when people discuss their musical tastes, The Roots often get a perfunctory little shout-out as if to broaden their musical credibility. They are the rap group for people who don’t like rap groups but don’t want to seem as if they are prejudiced against black people. After all, they play instruments, they don’t rap about guns, money or hoes and they generally seem kind of safe. Obviously, they aren’t like those gangster rappers and their baggy clothes. They wear corduroy dinner jackets and polo shirts, for god’s sake!!!
All of this goodwill has led to a ton of sold out shows at college campuses across the
Much like Memphis Bleek (except not at all), the Roots seemingly always seem to be perennially one hit away from stardom but it just never happens for them. For years, music aficionados have been predicting their next album would be the one that turns them into the next big band but it just has never happened for them. It was supposed to happen after Things Fall Apart dropped and they had that song with
So here we are today and the impending release of The Roots’ new album, Rising Down, is just around the corner and the Roots have been doing their damnedest to promote this album (because Jay-Z sure the hell won’t) going as far to releasing three new videos for the song. Glorious hater that I am, I took it upon myself to review these new songs and offer my opinion (which as usual should be interpreted as the facts) on each of these new videos and then offer my opinion on whether the new Roots album will be a worth a flying...
75 Bars (Black’s Reconstruction)
Black Thought has always been an emcee’s emcee as he is at his best when he’s getting on the mic and spitting and this song is absolutely tailored for Thought to crush. It’s basically just Thought freestyling for 75 bars (hence the name) over the brooding low rumble of a synthesizer line and drums of the beat. It’s personally right up my alley. I love this type of shit. The video directed by the infamous
Get Busy Feat. Dice Raw,
The second video released “Get Busy” is once again directed by men in puffy coats and wool caps enthusiast, Rik Cordero, and the song and the video are the best of the bunch. “Get Busy” employs the same buzzing synths that “75 Bars” does to great effect and it suggests that “Rising Down” will be the Roots darkest album yet. Thought, Dice Raw, and
Birthday Girl Feat.
Much has been made of how awful “Birthday Girl” is since it’s release earlier this week on the internet, and I’m really not gonna argue with it. “Birthday Girl” doesn’t sound like a Roots record…like at all. It doesn’t even really sound like a Fall Out Boy record either. Instead, it sounds like what John Mayer would do if given the chance to make a hip hop song that ruined somebody else’s reputation as the worst artist working not named John Groban. The song is clearly meant to be a pandering rap/sensitive-white-guy-with-a-guitar crossover and it’s really just bad.
Outside of the utter tragedy that is “Birthday Girl,” I’m kind of looking forward to Rising Down. Although, I’m curious the direction, the Roots are going. “75 Bars” and “Get Busy” have this dark, brooding buzzed out synth sound that could actually be damn near awesome if the entire album sounds like that but I can’t imagine how a song like “Birthday Girl” is gonna fit on an album like that. It seems like Def Jam is forcing this on the Roots whether they like it or not. The presence of the song alone means that Def Jam could be subtly sabotaging the Roots in order for them to appeal to a “broader” (i.e. people with no taste) audience much like they did to Method Man when he released Tical 0 a few years back. I don’t like that idea much of all. Stay away, Def Jam, stay away!