Release Date: Apr 29, 2008
Record label: Def Jam
These same thoughts are echoed by the Roots' MC and the myriad talented guests who add their own equally hard-hitting verses to the album's tracks. "My life is on a flight that's going down/My mother had an abortion for the wrong child/. .
Review Summary: Dark, dense and paranoid, Rising Down is surprisingly better for it.For 15 years the Roots have been a force. They’ve shifted, progressed, regressed, revolutionized and prophesized all the while making highly renowned, transcendent hip-hop. Rising Down is their 8th album, and to expect anything less than a solid affair would be unfair given the band’s heralded return to form Game Theory, which quickly made amnesiacs out of anyone who gave The Tipping Point a chance.
The Roots’ once-jazzy urban hang suite has become a den of indignation. Kicking off the Philadelphia hip-hop band’s 10th CD is a snippet from a 1994 conference call with then label Geffen, in which rapper Black Thought goes apoplectic. This is the first of many bad vibes on Rising Down, which turns the downcast mood of 2006’s haunting Game Theory outward at the world at large, with gripes about drug laws, school shootings, conflict diamonds, and — that most alarming bellwether of our times — BET programming.
Do we still consider the Roots underappreciated? Eight albums deep, including this sophomore Def Jam disc, high-profile performances with Jay-Z, a global mini-cult loving their live shows: many artists fare much worse. All things considered, I swear they don't want to blow up bigger. From their bizarre album covers to their perpetually impenetrable jazz cats' jam band attitude and the obtuse angles of their kinetic audio, they're always missing something on each album while having too much of something else.