Last week ?uest Love and Black Thought packed a few lucky reporters into a room at Battery Studios in NYC to hear The Roots new CD, Rising Down.
Talib Kweli, DJ J.Period and Tracey Moore of the Jazzyfatnastees (looking fine as haail) stopped by and seemed as anxious to hear the music as anyone else. An always affable host, ?uest provided “quiff” notes (perves, stand down) for the class to follow along. Anyone familiar with The Roots knows about their famous liner notes (why don’t more groups do that?) so believe the ones for RD will be extensive.
As for the music, I liken it to having ’88 swagger with ’08 bling; it’s a diamond rope chain, but not gaudy. Full, imposing, yet polished. The fifteen or so tracks are bookended by throwback audio of the groups days at Geffen and it sets a dark, confrontational tone. Cameos abound with Mos Def, Styles P, Common, Talib, Saigon and several others sparring with Thought and company.
Chrisette Michelle lends her crystalline vocals to the bright and percussive “Rising Up,” my overall favorite. Immediately following it however is my least favorite song, and of course the first official single, “Birthday Girl.” Why don’t I like it? It sounds like “The Seed 2.5″and I while that is probably their biggest single to date in terms of sales, I did…not…like…that…song…at…all…I remember standing in a crowd at either the Knitting Factory or Irving Plaza, arms folded, ice grilling the stage until that song was over…ugh. Anyway, the title track, “Get Busy” (which is a brawl in a bottle, break in case of emergency) and “The Show” more than make up for my lack of open-mindedness.
In short, this feels like Things Fall Apart’s cousin that came out of jail with a Masters Degree; A positive outcome of unnecessary struggles. Make sure to go out and cop Rising Down on April 29th!
1. The Pow Wow
2. Rising Down -featuring Mos Def and Styles P
3. Get Busy -featuring Dice Raw and Scratches by DJ Jazzy Jeff
5. 75 Bars(Blacks Reconstruction)
6. (Up There)
7. Criminal-f Truck North
8. I Will Not Apologize- featuring Porn and Dice Raw
9. I Can’t Help It-featuring Malik B.
10. Singing Man-featuring Porn and Truck North
11. (Up There…Unwritten)
12. Lost Desire-featuring Talib Kweli
13.The Show-featuring Common
14. Rising Up-featuring WALE and Chrisette Michelle
15. Birthday Girl-featuring Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy