Release Date: Jun 22, 2010
Record label: Def Jam
Genre(s): Rap, Hip Hop
A quick glance at the guests and samples on The Roots’ ninth album not only tells you where the Philadelphia collective’s heads are at musically, but also where How I Got Over is most likely to be found in many people’s collections. For you can well imagine this sandwiched between Joanna Newsom, Monsters Of Folk, Dirty Projectors and John Legend – all of whom appear in some form or other here – in someone’s CD racks or harddrive. They’d certainly seem more comfortable amidst orchestral indie, folk and retro-soul than they would in the company of L’il Wayne.
Has working for Jimmy Fallon dulled the Roots’ edge? Not a bit. The venerable hip-hop band’s first effort since joining NBC’s late-night lineup delivers all the funk/soul/jazz vibes fans have come to expect. Plus it features their most successful forays yet into the world of indie rock — not least the plaintive Monsters of Folk collab ”Dear God 2.0.” A? Download These:Joanna Newsom-sampling Right On at amazon.comPolitically charged groove How I Got Over at amazon.com See all of this week’s reviews .
Above everything else that defines them, the Roots are capital-P Professionals. That's why they're perfect for their "Late Night" job. They don't fit there because, as critics would say, they're easily digestible; they fit because they're versatile and consistently operate at a high level. They're encyclopedic music scholars who're proud of their chops but don't flash them at the expense of an accessible hook.
The Roots have long been recognized for their uncanny ability to meld elements of jazz, rock, soul and hip-hop. On their ninth studio album, the veteran Philly crew adds indie rock to its formula, and after two straight downer albums, it has them sounding positively re-energized. [rssbreak] The Pitchfork-friendly guest card seems like it would threaten to overwhelm the album, but instead the collaborators fit seamlessly into the Roots' signature sound.
Their ninth album finds the Philadelphia veterans a unique voice in hip-hop. Becoming house band on Jimmy Fallon's US chatshow has led them to embrace indie culture, sculpting hard-hitting rap from a Joanna Newsom sample (Right On) and a Monsters of Folk song (the startling cry for help of Dear God 2.0). Elsewhere, the album is something of a rap equivalent of Marvin Gaye's era-addressing What's Going On.
You can’t really blame The Roots for getting a little complacent; after all, they’ve got one of the most imperishable jobs a band can hope to get - serving as the house band for Jimmy Fallon every weeknight. You couldn’t really fault them for being reluctant to getting back in the studio or trekking across the world, but regardless, How I Got Over exists, and it’s a far more fully-formed work than you’d probably expect from the band members' busy schedule. This is still very much The Roots you remember; Black Thought’s sharp lyrical jabs and ?uestlove’s taut, efficient drumming are both present and well accounted for.
The not-very-hip-hop Dirty Projectors, Monsters of Folk, Patty Crash, and Joanna Newsom contribute one way or another to How I Got Over. Rest assured, the ninth studio album from the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon house band is very much its own, and skeptics should be reminded that hip-hop history is filled with figures as unlikely as Billy Squier (who probably did not bump into Run-D.M.C. backstage at The Alan Thicke Show).
At the same time they became the biggest band in hip-hop -- at least among hippie festivalgoers, who were allowed to feel like they were celebrating diversity by listening to the Roots, and according to a certain former SNL cast member -- the Roots were making some of their hardest, least accessible music. It’s hard to imagine a tie-dye-wearing Bonnaroo attendee enjoying the sinister bits of Tipping Point, Game Theory or Rising Down in between the crunchy grooves the Roots plentifully dole out in the live setting. Put it this way: “Don’t Say Nuthin’” isn’t going to end up slotted between a Phish and Dave Matthews Band song on any mixtape anytime soon.
Things seem pretty sweet for the Roots right now. They’ve got that regular gig as the house band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, which not only helps pay the bills—records don’t help with that much anymore, I’m told—but also lets them collaborate with any and all musicians that come through the show’s doors. The results have made them easily the most exciting part of a mediocre talk show, and have yielded some surprising and excellent results.
When The Roots signed on to be the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, it promised to be the first domino to fall in the famously accomplished band's evolution from hyper-competent musical innovators to near-ubiquitous NPR-friendly hip-hop stars. After all, can you imagine Public Enemy showing up five nights a week to trade jokes with Jay Leno? But The Roots assuredly have charted their own path over the past 23 years, steadfastly expanding their lyrical and thematic scope while simultaneously broadening their commercial appeal. In 2010, if any act can descend in the belly of mainstream entertainment and emerge clean of contamination, it's them.
“Dear diary, the fans still swear by me,” raps Black Thought, “even though I'm late night now like 'Here's Johnny.'” The notion that the Roots's gig bumping in and out of commercial breaks on Jimmy Fallon's late-night talk show has left them feeling like they've got to prove their chops would seem borne out by the release of their new album How I Got Over. After all, their previous disc, the dark and brooding Rising Down, was so urgent and relevant it's still resonating a mere two years after its release. The Roots, now more than at any other point in their career so far, could actually afford to rest on their laurels.
The seminal hip hop group’s ninth album is another classic-in-waiting. Lou Thomas 2010 The cover gives the title away. On the front of The Roots’ ninth studio album 11 silhouetted people run from darkness into bright light. It’s as if Philadelphia’s finest rap crew are saying, “This is how we got over bad times: with the help from our nearest and dearest.” While that sentiment might seem glib, it comes alive on this staggering record.
From those opening, gorgeous, chords – their sultry delivery, their soulful demeanor, their jazzy glean, everything – signals that The Roots are back. “A Peace of Light” isn’t just one of their best openers to date but introducing How I Got Over with such a reaffirming, calming ray of light never carried so much peace of mind before. All puns aside, those are very surely the women of Dirty Projectors singing on the aforementioned, manipulated in a manner that speaks paramount to what the working band from Philly have created.
THE ROOTS “How I Got Over” (Def Jam) Any hip-hop act but the Roots would be bragging about camera time on “How I Got Over,” their first studio album since becoming the supremely flexible house band for “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. ” Reaching a nationwide television audience every weeknight, the Roots may be the most widely seen hip-hop group ever. But there’s no TV-star smugness on the Roots’ ninth studio album, “How I Got Over.