Rising Down (Def Jam)
Â As much as The Roots have undeniably revolutionized the genre, their records still sometimes succumb to hip-hop clichés. Maintaining a track-to-track flow, for example, remains an issue. However, unlike with other rap acts, the numerous guest appearances often provide their albums with a vital spark.
Â On Rising Down, fans can expect to hear several guest voices, mostly belonging to unfamiliar artists, an approach thatâ€™s become somewhat of a Roots trademark as they continue to take up-and-coming artists under their wing and provide them with a platform. On recent releases, the band has delved into darker lyrical territory, and Rising Down continues that approach. In drummer ?uestloveâ€™s own words, their latest offering is â€śprobably the most bleakâ€ť material that The Roots have put out. â€śBetween the greenhouse gasses and Earth spinninâ€™ off its axis,â€ť rhymes Black Thought,â€śit ainâ€™t hard to tell that the conditions is drastic.â€ť
Â The Roots, bluntly honest as they take listeners on a tour of urban blight, expertly capture a sense of mounting dread inside of skeletal synth soundscapes. Whereas the groupâ€™s previous album, Game Theory, juxtaposed some of its social concern with bright sonics, Rising Down grows more claustrophobic as it progresses. At the end of the day, The Roots, hell-bent on changing their sound with every album, have once again thrown listeners a curveballâ€”one thatâ€™s worth checking out for its creative daring alone.