Drums and lyrics. Fresh squeezed music from one of my favorite groups of all time and one of my favorite spit kickers to ever rhyme. I’m talking about THE Legendary Roots Crew from the illadeph. For those who’ve only heard their Grammy award winning joint Ã¢â‚¬Å“I Got YouÃ¢â‚¬Â featuring Erykah Badu there is more to them, as their front man MC would so eloquently put it “I got a crib with a Grammy and a gat on the shelf.” Current members of the crew include Black Thought (MC), ?Love (drums), Kamaal (keyboard), Frank Knuckles (percussion), and Cap’n Kirk (guitar). Other notable former members include Malik B, Scott Storch (hmm, sounds familiar… ), Rahzel (the beat box champ!) and Scratch. For those Roots-virgins who havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t heard ?love on the drums or Black Thought rip the mic with his energizer flow… IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sorry. If you’re a fan of hip-hop, stay tuned, kick back and drown in sickness, otherwise, move on.
LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s get started. Ã¢â‚¬Å“How I Got OverÃ¢â‚¬Â will be The Roots ninth studio LP, yes ninth go get Ã¢â‚¬Ëœem all! The concept of the album is based around choruses from various songs. The album’s intro opens up with “A Piece of Light”, a calm melodic voice followed by some drum rifts. No rhyming, just soothing music, reminiscent of some Miles blended with some sort of scat singing.
“Walk Alone” has the feel of a dark, lonely alleyway movie scene; the title caters to the mood of the track perfectly.
“I promise every second felt as if it took an eon// walkin like the lost boys of Sierra Le-on”
Right off the bat, one of favorite tracks off the album. The best verse was saved for last- Black Thought.
“Dear God 2.0″ is a letter by Black Thought to the Man upstairs; describing the world’s troubles and pleading for help.
“Why is the world ugly when You made it in your image// and why is living life such a fight to the finish…. a second is a minute, every hour’s in-finite”
“Radio Daze” gives you a more uplifting feel versus the prior tracks which have a darker ambiance.
“Now or Never” featuring Phonte, one half of Little Brother, makes a guest appearance. This is another feel good track. Get your shit together, now or never…
And we arrive at the title track for the album, “How I Got Over”. For the most part I’m disappointed when it comes to title tracks. If itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to be the title of your album, shouldn’t it be a dope ass song? Here, however, it is refreshing to hear the total opposite. I can definitely see this joint being performed by The Roots at Transit Lounge! ‘NUff said!
Next, a short dedication to J.Dilla is offered as a DillaTUDE. RIP.
“The Day”- Phonte makes another guest appearance. He sounds good with the drums in the back drop. Maybe The Roots and Little Brother collab on an entire album, imjusayin’.
With “Right On”, sampling Joanna Newsom’s track Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Book of Right-OnÃ¢â‚¬Â, we have a nice sample reminding me of Common reaching out to Lilly Allen for “Driving Me Wild”.
“There’s no time for coming up shorter than a midget.”
Black Thought is a punch liner!!
The crew hits us with back to back John Legend assisted tracks. The first, “Doin’ It Again”- samples the new baby-maker-music-artist of our day, Mr. John Legend’s song Ã¢â‚¬Å“AgainÃ¢â‚¬Â. It works, it flows. The second track titled “The Fire” has Legend singing an original chorus. If you saw the Winter Olympics, you might recall this song being performed during the opening ceremony. Also, be on the lookout for John Legend’s new album produced by guess who… The R-double O-T-S.
“Web 20-20″- The Roots also had a track of a similar name on Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Tipping PointÃ¢â‚¬Â titled Ã¢â‚¬Å“The WebÃ¢â‚¬Â. You can call this the second coming of it. I’m a fan of these non-stop rhyming joints. They are all rhyme, all the time; no chorus, just bars.
14 tracks, two of which are interludes and one bonus joint. I definitely like the idea of short albums. It has to be one of the more complete Roots albums I have listened to. True bop ya head actionÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ it’s the drums, how can you not? Thank you ?Love! Black Thought came with it lyrically, as he always will. It was not flooded with guest appearances; just those in their select circle. Typically this is how a Roots album sounds- dark, soulful, yet bright and inspiring with hard drum beats. The percussion is ALWAYS on point. One of the most underrated lyricists in today’s game with one of the best bands staying true to their craft.