Volume 92, Issue 92
Tuesday, March 23, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
New album ties hip hop to its Roots
Things Fall Apart
The Roots have written the next chapter in their slow deconstruction of the hip hop status quo. K.R.S. may call himself the saviour of hip hop but his ranting comes at the price of depth and flow. The Roots do not suffer from this stylistic drawback.
Questioned by some for producing six separate covers for Things Fall Apart, the Philly crew's money making scheme escapes serious criticism due to the quality of the album. With this fourth Roots installment, the group's philosophy has solidified its position as the most well-rounded in the business.
All live instruments all the time make The Roots hit and stick, but the creative layouts, combined with Black Thought as lyrical guru, make The Roots distinctive and intelligent.
The album opens by questioning the viability of hip hop as a product and artistic enterprise. "The people don't come because you grandiose mo-fo's don't play the shit that they like," a voice bellows over the first track. The dialogue is pinched from Spike Lee's Mo Better Blues and does not escape The Roots.
The hot music comes thick with "The Next Movement" a phased out rhythmic joint which characterizes the Grand Canyon depth of Things which one can't help but dive into.
"The Spark" and "Act Too" personify the darkness and transcendence of the album, from urban Philly to a universal understanding of music and society.
The hit "You Got Me" is deservedly buried on the album, so as to not detract from its completeness. However, the track's sweet sounds of Erika Badu will undoubtedly have many listeners scanning to track 15.
No wonder Dre from Outkast is so happy these days.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999