The Roots | Rising Down

Def Jam
By RICHARD BECK  |  May 12, 2008
2.5 2.5 Stars
05/16/2008_Roots_insideFollowing 2002’s Phrenology, a stylistically schizophrenic album that left no pop-musical stone unturned, the Roots adopted the principle of addition by subtraction, and on Rising Down that ethos has reached a kind of logical conclusion. Drummer Amir “?uestlove” Thompson’s vision of political despair makes for some unrelentingly bleak shit: paranoid, roiling bass lines, ferocious breakbeat attacks, and little else. Black Thought, working with a team of guest MCs that includes Talib Kweli and Saigon, is as technically skilled as always, even if he does have a tendency to state the obvious. (What’s that you say? Global warming is bad?) For all their well-placed anger, these rappers seem a little paralyzed. Sure they can evoke school shootings, substance addiction, and terrorism, but what to do with all that vivid description? Still, Rising Down is a grim mirror of a particular time and place, one that will still be worth the look when (if?) things get better somewhere down the line.
Related: Bubbling under, An abridged history of the Roots' collabs, They get ill, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Hip-Hop and Rap, Music,  More more >
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