The Roots: How I Got Over

June 21st, 2010 by | Tags: , , ,

The last album from The Roots was Rising Down. It was the release valve of living under eight years of Bush and the information overload and depression that came from suddenly having all the news you care to read at your beck and call. It was harsh music, with the closest thing to a round edge coming in the form of the Wale and Jill Scott-featured “Rising Down.” The standout track was “75 Bars (Black’s Reconstruction),” which featured Black Thought going in for three minutes straight on a spare ?uestlove drum track and a low, groaning musical accompaniment.

I’m not sure which bars are my favorite. “I’m in the field with a shield and a spear, nigga/ I’m in your girl with her heels in the air, nigga” is incredible, but Thought drops ten about three-fourths of the way through the song that pretty near knocked my socks off. “What’s your networking plan? You better look alive/ ’cause them niggas outside looking desperate again, nigga/ And the blunts and liquor killing our lungs and liver/ The asthmatic drug addict, I function with it/ I put a rapper in a hole where the dust will sit/ for spitting played out patterns that once was hitting/ I got news for you all, let me show you how to ball/ See the legendary fall? I ain’t heard of that/ Y’all niggas is off the wall like Aresnio Hall/ I’ma put you right back where the dirt is at.”

Their new joint is How I Got Over. The title really says it all: it’s about triumph over adversity. I’m on listen three or four at this point, and listen sixty or seventy of the lead single “How I Got Over,” and it’s a great record. The sequencing, the music, all of it sounds on point. Each song flows into the next, and they work together to build an album about getting over when times are hard, whether through hustling, prayer, or just living. It’s a strong album.

The guest appearances come from all-stars, too. Blu is a dope producer and artist out of Los Angeles, one of those guys who releases tunes so rarely that you get mad and think he disappeared, and then he comes back with something that goes hard and all is forgiven. Down to earth, interesting production, straightforward lyrics, Blu is basically that dude. Phonte from Little Brother is on a couple tracks, too, and he’s always entertaining. STS, aka Sugar Tongue Slim, and the always dope Peedi Crakk (Peedi Peedi so he can get on TV) make strong guest appearances, too. Roots staple Dice Raw has several verses, which is always nice to see. John Legend and Joanna Newsom are on the album for all you people who don’t like rappers but loooooove sangas.

Cop it. How I Got Over is pretty good. It’s down tempo, a little more laid back than Rising Down, and a little more, what, mature? Is it grown folks’ music? I’m not sure, but it’s good.

Related: Bobby Ray’s album is five bucks on Amazon, that Janelle Monae record is eight, and Eminem’s latest is ten bucks. It’s been a good year for music.

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2 comments to “The Roots: How I Got Over”

  1. I don’t know if I can put my finger on exactly why, but Rising Down left a sour taste in my mouth. It was obviously not a happy record, but it seemed downright painful in places, and combined with a darker sound it made for an album that didn’t stay in my rotation for very long. (Maybe enough time has passed for a reappraisal?) I am glad to hear the new one is good – I still listen to Phrenology and Tipping Point all the time, so a new awesome Roots record would be a highlight of my year.

  2. @Tim O’Neil: Give the Amazon samples (or the youtube bootlegs) a listen. How I Got Over is about as boom bap as it gets, but it’s an album that goes from sad to triumphant and I can dig that.