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TurkeylegJenkins
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Tue Jul-20-04 08:40 AM

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"Consolidated Tipping Point Reviews Thread"


  

          

Instead of cluttering up the boards with individual postings of Tipping Point reviews, why don't we all just post them here in one thread? Maybe we could even get an anchor (wink, wink).

I'll start.

_______________________________________________________________________________

The age of the ignorant rapper is done: http://www.regeneratedheadpiece.com

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand and he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." -- Mike Tyson

_______________________________________________________________________________

Blog: http://bluenatic.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bluenatic
Tumblr: http://bluenaticfringe.tumblr.com/
MSG column archive: http://bit.ly/bgV4T6
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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
New York Newsday
Jul 20th 2004
1
MSNBC
Jul 20th 2004
2
The Village Voice
Jul 20th 2004
3
RE: The Village Voice
Jul 21st 2004
20
USA Today
Jul 20th 2004
4
Washington Post
Jul 20th 2004
5
Boston Globe
Jul 20th 2004
6
RE: Boston Globe
Jul 21st 2004
19
Philadelphia Inquirer
Jul 20th 2004
7
New York Daily News
Jul 20th 2004
8
Newark Star Ledger
Jul 20th 2004
9
Kansas City Star
Jul 20th 2004
10
Pop Matters
Jul 20th 2004
11
Billboard
Jul 20th 2004
12
AllHipHop
Jul 20th 2004
13
London Daily Telegraph
Jul 20th 2004
14
Daily Yomiuri (Japan)
Jul 20th 2004
15
HipHopDX
Jul 20th 2004
16
RE: Consolidated Tipping Point Reviews Thread
Jul 21st 2004
17
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Jul 21st 2004
18
Toronto Eye Weekly
Jul 22nd 2004
21
BBC
Jul 22nd 2004
22
RapReviews
Jul 22nd 2004
23
Wichita Eagle
Jul 22nd 2004
24
Sun Journal
Jul 22nd 2004
25
Somebody put up Malcolm Gladwell's review!
Jul 23rd 2004
26
The Onion A.V. Club
Jul 24th 2004
27
RE: Consolidated Tipping Point Reviews Thread
Jul 26th 2004
28

TurkeylegJenkins
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Tue Jul-20-04 08:42 AM

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1. "New York Newsday"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Link: http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/music/ny-etledew3888977jul13,0,6253752.column?coll=ny-music-columnists
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The Roots rip apart rap for rap's sake


The Roots are ready to rumble.

On "Don't Say Nuthin," the Philadelphia- based quartet's current single, it throws down against the seemingly endless parade of gangsta rap wannabes.

First, it rolls out a gritty, hard- edged beat that most could only dream of. Then, rapper Black Thought spits a torrent of nonsense, linking together gangsta cliches into a verse before mumbling through a chorus where the only recognizable words are "Give it here," "Cut the check" and "Don't say nuthin." By the end, Black Thought offers a warning to the here-today- gone-by-lunch hitmakers: "I'll still be on the ground when it all collapse and if it's mine, worth buying, I'm gonna take it right back."

After years of being hip- hop's biggest paradox - a critically acclaimed, successful live act that has yet to deliver blockbuster sales - The Roots have launched their most direct bid for an across-the- board hit in years with their new album, "The Tipping Point" (Geffen). The band has long been the genre's most-admired act, applauded for bringing the rock-band, live-instrument aesthetic to the world of rap stars. Now, it is trying to get its anti-bling message to a broader audience.

Of course, that doesn't mean The Roots will change that message. For example, "Guns Are Drawn" has Black Thought rapping about how American civil liberties are threatened by the Patriot Act, while drummer ?uestlove serves up another laid- back groove. Throughout "The Tipping Point," The Roots take on the war in Iraq, the Bush administration and general apathy, while celebrating those who hold down tough, legitimate jobs, and urging the working class to keep its head up. The band also continues to meld jam-band rock and hip-hop, as it did in its recent "Phrenology" album, with the 10-minute "Melting Pot" jam and the eight- minute, freestyle "Outro."

However, "The Tipping Point" is meant to show how today's hip-hop can have substance and style, which The Roots prove over and over again. Now, it's a matter of taking that case to the people.

-- Glenn Gamboa

_______________________________________________________________________________

The age of the ignorant rapper is done: http://www.regeneratedheadpiece.com

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand and he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." -- Mike Tyson

_______________________________________________________________________________

Blog: http://bluenatic.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bluenatic
Tumblr: http://bluenaticfringe.tumblr.com/
MSG column archive: http://bit.ly/bgV4T6
Facebook: http://www.face

  

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TurkeylegJenkins
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18021 posts
Tue Jul-20-04 08:47 AM

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2. "MSNBC"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Link: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5424323/

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“The Tipping Point,” The Roots


Always expect the unexpected from the Roots. On their genre-expanding 2002 album “Phrenology,” the Philadelphia hip-hop band flirted with punk, downshifted neo-soul into a drum n’ bass workout, and imagined their guitar-riffing hip-hop as rock ’n’ roll’s offspring. The disc was heady, ambitious and undeniably progressive.

Now on “The Tipping Point,” instead of further tinkering with song structure and metaphor, they’ve opted to make their sound more accessible. Down to a streamlined, 10-song CD (actually, there are two hidden tracks, one with a hook courtesy of comic Dave Chappelle), the new disc borrows from the past, eyes the future yet manages to remain some of today’s most vital hip-hop.

More than any past release, the disc showcases the nimble rhymes of frontman Black Thought. He displays a socially aware side, dropping a couplet about the Patriot Act on the reggae-tinged “Guns Are Drawn” and societal ills on “Why (What’s Goin’ On?).”

In a homage to old school rap, Thought races through uncanny imitations of classic Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap verses on “Boom” — but only after he drops his own barrage of boasts on “Break Beat.”

However, for all the lyrical fury, the music is as funky as ever. Great sample choices propel two of the disc’s best moments — Sly and the Family Stone’s “Everybody is a Star” gets poached on the disc-opening “Star” while “Stay Cool” extends the same beguiling Al Hirt snippet used on De La Soul’s 1993 “Ego Trippin’ (Part Two).” There’s even a hidden version of George Kranz’s dance classic “Din Daa Daa.” All these treats clock in at under an hour. With “Tipping Point,” the Roots prove that less can be indeed much more.

— Brett Johnson


_______________________________________________________________________________

The age of the ignorant rapper is done: http://www.regeneratedheadpiece.com

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand and he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." -- Mike Tyson

_______________________________________________________________________________

Blog: http://bluenatic.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bluenatic
Tumblr: http://bluenaticfringe.tumblr.com/
MSG column archive: http://bit.ly/bgV4T6
Facebook: http://www.face

  

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TurkeylegJenkins
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18021 posts
Tue Jul-20-04 08:50 AM

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3. "The Village Voice"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Link: http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0429/wang.php

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Off Balance

Illadelphians lose their cultural momentum, maybe even tipping in the wrong direction


Ovid got it wrong about Icarus. When the Roman poet immortalized the boy who flew too high, he meant to offer a cautionary tale against hubris. Generations have since assumed that Icarus fucked up by reaching too far, yet his fall became legend. No one paints frescoes about the flight of Daedalus, but his prodigal son drapes thousands of dorm rooms thanks to Matisse's Icarus. The real moral of the Icarus tale: Getting by is boring, but there is glory to be found in ambitious failure.

The Roots' last album, 2002's Phrenology, enjoyed neither the critical nor the commercial success of 1999's Things Fall Apart, but at least it laid the group's ambitions bare. They had already certified their jazz chops with Organix (1993) and Do You Want More? (1995). Illadelph Halflife (1996) and Things Fall Apart established their lyrical superiority. With Phrenology, the group stopped obsessing over their legitimacy and instead leaped into the creative unknown. The confessional "Water" confronted a member's crack addiction. Their pairing with guitarist Cody ChestnuTT produced the rollicking "Seed (2.0)," a rock/rap hybrid that anticipated the craze that OutKast's "Hey Ya" rode. Even when the album wobbled, Phrenology suggested that the Roots were daring enough to try and fail—their boldness was the LP's strongest statement. With The Tipping Point, the group scampers in retreat toward functional street anthems and radio hits, their inventive spirit notably absent. For a group who can be so compelling when they aim high and fall short, an effort so squarely average is all the more disappointing.

The Tipping Point begins auspiciously with the sublime "Star," opening with the analog crackle of Sly Stone's "Everybody Is a Star," then quickly stripping the sample into ribbons of ghostly voices and curling basslines. After Black Thought closes out his verses, the song licks a tab and morphs into a hazy interlude of philosophical waxings and hypnotic swirls. At this moment, anything and everything seem possible. But instead of stepping up, the Roots backslide with "I Don't Care," an aptly named song whose limp production and obligatory r&b jingle beg for your indifference.

The transition between "Star" and "I Don't Care" is jarring, like accidentally switching discs on your CD changer. The Tipping Point spills over with this kind of incongruity, as if the Roots took two or three different albums in development and haphazardly stitched them together. Is this a Black Thought solo album? The group's lyrical leader explodes with spectacular vernacular on "Web" and "Boom," impersonating Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap to eerie perfection on the latter. Or is this ?uestlove's musical masterpiece? The drummer leads the band through two excellent covers, one of Boris Gardiner's funkae reggae classic "Melting Pot," while the "Outro" remakes George Kranz's Euro-disco smash "Din Daa Daa" into a drum scat demonstration. Or are the Roots trying to dish out radio hits? That might explain derivative piffle like the C-grade Timba-loops on "Duck Down" or "Why (What's Going On?)," a clone apparently spliced from Santana's Supernatural. For the first time in their long career, the Roots turn out less a cohesive album and more a collection of tracks in which nothing much makes sense: not the sequencing, not the concept, and definitely not the song selection.

Considering how often former tour-mates the Roots and OutKast are compared, The Tipping Point emerges as everything Speakerboxxx/The Love Below was not. In contrast to Andre and Big Boi's two-CD orgy of creative indulgence, The Tipping Point is by far the Roots' shortest and safest album. Where once they followed the iconoclast's path that's guided their career over the past 11 years, the Roots opt for a bare, bland approach that's not so much "bad" as just ordinary. Ordinary is OK—it can sell records, get you video spins, even land you on magazine covers. But why should a group capable of so much more settle for so much less?

-- Oliver Wang

_______________________________________________________________________________

The age of the ignorant rapper is done: http://www.regeneratedheadpiece.com

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand and he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." -- Mike Tyson

_______________________________________________________________________________

Blog: http://bluenatic.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bluenatic
Tumblr: http://bluenaticfringe.tumblr.com/
MSG column archive: http://bit.ly/bgV4T6
Facebook: http://www.face

  

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tomtomorrow
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1215 posts
Wed Jul-21-04 01:58 PM

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20. "RE: The Village Voice"
In response to Reply # 3


          

I hate hipsters. They're reviewing the album through the lens of a writer (and an audience) that only listens to hip-hop when it abandons the characteristics of hip hop. That love experimental music because it's experimental. Voice reviews used to be so much better than this.

Funnybook Babylon - We write the blog while Rome burns.

  

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TurkeylegJenkins
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18021 posts
Tue Jul-20-04 08:52 AM

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4. "USA Today"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Link: http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/reviews/2004-07-12-roots_x.htm

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The Roots tap urgent beat in 'Tipping Point'


Change is constant with The Roots, and The Tipping Point (* * * * out of four) once again finds the adventurous hip-hop band moving in a different direction.

The follow-up to their Grammy-winning Phrenology is sonically edgy and intense, much like their dynamic concerts.

Phrenology brought widespread recognition to the longtime critical favorite, and now that Outkast has kicked open the door for mold-breaking hip-hop acts, perhaps The Roots' seventh effort, out today, finally will give them a foothold in the pop mainstream.

The Tipping Point refers to Malcolm Gladwell's book about critical moments that touch off social phenomena, and the album certainly conveys a sense of urgency.

Between the riveting beats and frontman Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter's razor-sharp lyrics about a range of social ills, it's almost impossible to turn away. The Roots welcome back original keyboardist and now A-list producer Scott Storch, who contributes two tracks — the aggressive Duck Down and hard-driving first single Don't Say Nothing.

Other tracks are the result of jam sessions in Philadelphia late last year and early this year when core members — drummer Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, keyboardist Kamal Gray and bassist Leonard "Hub" Hubbard — hooked up with an array of up-and-coming and established talents.

The ominous Somebody's Got to Do It is spiced by guest rhymers Devin the Dude and Jean Grae, while rapper Skillz joins ODB and comedian David Chappelle on the rambunctious The Mic. Boom pays homage to old-school hip-hop stars Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane with Black Thought's dead-on imitations of both.

The band also gives a nod to Sly and the Family Stone on mesmerizing opener Star and to Booker T. & the MG's on the pulsating finale, Melting Pot. In between, Black Thought unleashes political commentaries on Guns Are Drawn and Why?

Phrenology was more ambitious and experimental, but The Tipping Point's stripped-down simplicity gives its music and messages a raw energy. That's typical of The Roots. Repetition has never been in their expansive vocabulary.

Too bad more hip-hop acts don't see that as an antidote to mediocrity.

-- Steve Jones

_______________________________________________________________________________

The age of the ignorant rapper is done: http://www.regeneratedheadpiece.com

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand and he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." -- Mike Tyson

_______________________________________________________________________________

Blog: http://bluenatic.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bluenatic
Tumblr: http://bluenaticfringe.tumblr.com/
MSG column archive: http://bit.ly/bgV4T6
Facebook: http://www.face

  

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TurkeylegJenkins
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18021 posts
Tue Jul-20-04 08:54 AM

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5. "Washington Post"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A48351-2004Jul13.html

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On 'Tipping,' The Roots Lose Their Balance


Contrarians by nature and innovators to their core, the Roots are always zigging while the rest of hip-hop zags. Best-selling rappers toast their good looks and their Bentleys; the Roots worry in rhyme about drugs, crime and poverty. The standard concert gear for MCs has always been a turntable (or two) and a microphone; the Roots have always been a band, and the sort of band that nimbly darts over the lines that separate rap from every other genre.

The aversion to formats and formulas has won Philly's best-known rap collective a couple of Grammys, steady critical huzzahs and sales just strong enough to keep them in the VIP section of the underground rap world. And they never seem too cunning about any of it. The Roots built this niche -- the socially conscious hip-hop artists, with instruments -- and they luxuriate in it. On a few occasions, they have stumbled, which is the sign of a group assured enough to find the outermost edge of whatever direction they are heading.

"The Tipping Point," the band's seventh album, doesn't lack for nerve, but that doesn't necessarily make it good -- or even particularly interesting. "Point" is the most conventional rap album the Roots have ever made, which is to say that the bandness of this act -- the sense of it as a living thing, in a room, playing -- is hardly in evidence here.

That's no accident. "Tipping" was created in two parts. First, the musicians in the band -- drummer ?uestlove (Ahmir Thompson), bassist Hub (Leon Hubbard) and keyboardist Kamal (Jimmy Gray) -- jammed for a few weeks in a studio. Second, the band sifted for the best grooves, splicing the material into verse-length pieces. Those pieces were then looped together into three- and four-minute tunes and lead vocalist Black Thought (Tariq Trotter) rapped over the results.

The Roots get points for boldness -- they are attempting to bridge whatever is left of the gap between canned rap music and live rock ambiance -- but they get those points at a price. The music on much of "Tipping" is inert, and on tracks such as "I Don't Care" and "Somebody's Gotta Do It" it feels generic.

That puts the burden of "Tipping" squarely on the shoulders of Black Thought. This really is his album, the musical equivalent of a movie in which he is featured in every scene, and he delivers a fierce and tirelessly thought-provoking performance. He's occasionally funny (in a riff about street cred on "Star," the opener, he invokes the name of the highly unthreatening "American Idol" winner, Ruben Studdard) and he can be boastful ("The rebel and a renegade out on a quest / the Super Black Man runnin' with an S on his chest" on "Duck Down!"). Shots are taken at the Bush administration and the war in Iraq, followed closely by lamentations about black-on-black crime. The chorus of the first single, "Don't Say Nuthin'," sounds like the mumbled orders of a drugged-up mugger in the middle of a robbery.

But Thought is a player in an ensemble cast in which the rest of the ensemble barely registers. It's a job that overwhelms, particularly given the seriousness of so much of the material here. You realize what's missing when you reach a pair of hidden cuts planted after a stretch of silence at the end of the last track. One is "The Mic," a scrappy, gloriously unhinged cut with cameos by comedian Dave Chappelle and rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard. Then ?uestlove does a version of an old B-boy favorite, "Din Daa Daa," turning it into a five-minute drum jam. It makes you appreciate what "The Tipping Point" is: a middling production with a butt-kicking afterparty.

-- David Segal

_______________________________________________________________________________

The age of the ignorant rapper is done: http://www.regeneratedheadpiece.com

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand and he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." -- Mike Tyson

_______________________________________________________________________________

Blog: http://bluenatic.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bluenatic
Tumblr: http://bluenaticfringe.tumblr.com/
MSG column archive: http://bit.ly/bgV4T6
Facebook: http://www.face

  

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TurkeylegJenkins
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18021 posts
Tue Jul-20-04 08:56 AM

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6. "Boston Globe"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Link: http://www.boston.com/ae/music/cd_reviews/articles/2004/07/13/roots_make_point_as_hip_hops_elite/

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Roots make 'Point' as hip-hop's elite


For their sixth studio album, the Roots borrow the title of Malcolm Gladwell's bestseller, "The Tipping Point," which refers to that serendipitous moment when an idea, trend, or social movement breaks into the mainstream and spreads like a virus.

Commercially, the Roots are still awaiting their own tipping point. They've collected a Grammy, and have been critically hailed since their first album, 1993's "Organix," but bigsales have mysteriously eluded them. It's the one soft spot in what has otherwise been a remarkable career, in which they've carved out a spot as not only hip-hop's one real band, but one of its all-time great groups.

Two years after the Grammy-nominated "Phrenology," Philly's finest -- leader and drummer Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, rapper Black Thought, bassist Leonard "Hub" Hubbard, keyboardist Kamal Gray -- return today with "The Tipping Point," which, compared to their ambitious last album, seems like an early morning chill-out record. A certain mood is set with the opening track "Star," which samples Sly and the Family Stone's soul chestnut, "Everybody Is a Star,"but the group quickly shakes things up with the head-bopping "I Don't Care," as delicious and satisfying a combination of hip-hop and R&B as anyone has produced this year. Similarly, "Don't Say Nuthin," the first single, blends spare beats and Black Thought's mumbled, ear-tugging chorus into a song that wouldn't be out of place in a club.

Because their musical vision has often been so expansive, some may find this album too slight, even sedate. The group is usually characterized by its cerebral Grammy-winner, 1999's "Things Fall Apart," considered by many to be their masterpiece. Yet, such a summation short-changes the Roots's ability to make really good hip-hop songs for the hips as well as the head. Take the one-two punch of "Web" and "BOOM!" Over bass and drums, Black Thought spits rhymes name-checking rap pioneer Kool DJ Herc and Patti LaBelle in "Web," but that's just an appetizer for "BOOM!" a bracing blast of stripped raw old-school rap.

Speaking of old school, a hidden track is actually a cover of George Kranz's human beat-box scat classic, "Din Daa Daa." It's pure, plain fun, as loose and easy as a jam session, and a prime opportunity for the band to show off its musical skills. A second bonus track, "In Love with the Mic," featuring comic Dave Chappelle, is a straight slice of hip-hop about a man who confesses his inability to love anything but his microphone.

This is a very accessible CD, but don't get it twisted -- the Roots remain a ferocious unit, one that doesn't seem to spend a lot of time worrying about what's playing on the radio or MTV. Still, if the Roots are destined to have a moment when they truly crash the mainstream rap scene, this album may be it.

Since the beginning, the Roots have been branded as a group more respected than liked, but there's nothing not to like on this fine album without a dead spot from beginning to end. From the jumpy reggae of "Guns Are Drawn," highlighted by guest guitarist Captain Kirk Douglas to the inviting, swivel-hipped groove of "Somebody's Gotta Do It," featuring Jean Grae, Mac Dub, and Devin the Dude, the Roots sound like a group in full command of their artistic impulses.

-- By Renée Graham

_______________________________________________________________________________

The age of the ignorant rapper is done: http://www.regeneratedheadpiece.com

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand and he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." -- Mike Tyson

_______________________________________________________________________________

Blog: http://bluenatic.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bluenatic
Tumblr: http://bluenaticfringe.tumblr.com/
MSG column archive: http://bit.ly/bgV4T6
Facebook: http://www.face

  

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okayplaya
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564 posts
Wed Jul-21-04 01:20 PM

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19. "RE: Boston Globe"
In response to Reply # 6


          

This is one of the most balanced, fair reviews I've read so far.


  

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TurkeylegJenkins
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18021 posts
Tue Jul-20-04 08:57 AM

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7. "Philadelphia Inquirer"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Link: http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/entertainment/9116220.htm

______________________________________________________________________________


Spare beats, and large ideas

On "Tipping Point," the Roots' boasts make way for knife-sharp comment on universal themes.


It's possible to take in most of The Tipping Point (Geffen **** out of four stars), the Roots' galvanizing sixth effort, and come away thinking it's just another series of boasts glorifying one rhyme-sayer's skills over the meager gifts of others.

After all, Black Thought is prone to withering assessments of his peers, and their flip side, self-mythologizing tales about how he talks sharp, "like a razor blade under the tongue." Then there's his incessantly brash delivery: Proceeding from a quintessentially Philadelphian position that assumes confrontation, he's a contrarian who didn't just overcome obstacles ("... took the cards I was dealt, turned 'em into hot spit"), but set out to change the rules of the game.

Go a bit deeper into the album's 12 tracks, and what emerges is a rhetorical sneak attack.

Raps that start as typical bravado evolve into riffs on homeland security, or criticism of political complacency among African Americans. Tucked within autobiographical recollections are screeds against mindlessness in music ("Every record ain't a record just to shake behind"), or all-points civil-liberties alerts ("They're fixing to write another Patriot Act again").

It would be one thing if the weighty stuff hit listeners over the head, Public Enemy-style - the most overt message of this record is its cover, a posterized arrest photo of Malcolm Little just before he became Malcolm X. The genius of The Tipping Point lies in its quick-cut approach and the way Black Thought slips larger ideas into otherwise ordinary accounts of the daily struggle, shifting the scene from a South Philly scramble for cash to the more universal struggle to retain poise in the face of adversity.

The Tipping Point is less musically ambitious than Phrenology - the Roots traded the previous album's orchestrational appointments for a symphony of ice-pick snare drums and lean, mean guitar riffs, and left vast open spaces for the switchblade prose to shine.

From the first track, a clever reworking of Sly and the Family Stone's "Everybody Is a Star," through the whomping "I Don't Care" and the highly syncopated duet between Black Thought and drummer ?uestlove, "Web," the rhythm section does what it did during the disc's formative jam sessions - it simmers along, threatening to boil, reinforcing the rapped themes with surprisingly economical touches.

The Roots might not tip into the thick of commercial urban music with something as edgy and subversively provocative as The Tipping Point. But its spirit and live-band vitality represent an important contribution all the same - showing that sparks can fly when hip-hop's numbingly predictable formula gets shoved a step or two in the direction of spontaneity.

-- Tom Moon

_______________________________________________________________________________

The age of the ignorant rapper is done: http://www.regeneratedheadpiece.com

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand and he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." -- Mike Tyson

_______________________________________________________________________________

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TurkeylegJenkins
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18021 posts
Tue Jul-20-04 09:00 AM

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8. "New York Daily News"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Link: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/story/210772p-181579c.html

_______________________________________________________________________________


Roots' Rapresurrection


The Roots just got back to theirs.

On the Philly hip-hop act's sixth CD, it downplays the jazz, rock, and soul experiments of its last album to put the emphasis squarely back on the slap of the beat and the flow of the word.

The Roots previous work, 2001's "Phreno­logy," had so much more melody and musicianship than verbal flourishes, it was nearly a post-hip-hop record. Their live shows at the time suggested they were angling to become a '70s soul jam band. And they had the chops to bring it off.

From the start, the Roots distinguished themselves from other hip-hop acts by banishing samples and operating as a genuine live band. But the group's early music always served to support the roiling raps of lead wordsmith Black Thought. Only over time did the instrumentalists seize more of the spotlight.

On "The Tipping Point," Thought's raps retake center stage. Some of the music that supports him may give longtime fans pause. In several sections, the band flirts with the mainstream. The single "Star" violates the Roots' anti-sample stance by including a huge and obvious one from Sly Stone's "Everybody Is a Star." Another track, "Don't Say Nothin'," mimics a commercial gangsta groove. But thankfully, most of the album has the uncompromising, live grooves and pitched rapping of the Roots' best work.

In "Web," Leonard Hubbard belches a fast bass line and drummer Questlove Amir coolly swishes his cymbals, providing the perfect bed for Thought's brusque rap. In "Duck Down," the beat has the catchiness of a melody, while in the aptly named "Boom!" Thought comes on like a young Big Daddy Kane as the band pumps out a free-spirited­ rhythm.

Even in the aforementioned gangsta cut, Thought spits out an original hook. Slurring the chorus, he lands halfway between a hum and a murmur.

The one instrumental number, "Melting­ Pot," was left off the U.S. version of the CD - a shame, because it's hot. But not to worry: The Roots prove that raps and rhythms can have the freedom and excitement of a jam band in full swing.

_______________________________________________________________________________

The age of the ignorant rapper is done: http://www.regeneratedheadpiece.com

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand and he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." -- Mike Tyson

_______________________________________________________________________________

Blog: http://bluenatic.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bluenatic
Tumblr: http://bluenaticfringe.tumblr.com/
MSG column archive: http://bit.ly/bgV4T6
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TurkeylegJenkins
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18021 posts
Tue Jul-20-04 09:03 AM

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9. "Newark Star Ledger"
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Link: http://www.nj.com/entertainment/ledger/index.ssf?/base/entertainment-2/108952312087990.xml
______________________________________________________________________________


Roots music


Though "The Tipping Point" is the Roots' sixth studio album, it works well as an introduction to the group. It seems the Philadelphia-based hip-hop band, recognizing its potential to break out of the "rap" category, intended it that way. The Roots shared a Grammy for their 1999 collaboration with Erykah Badu ("You Got Me") and earned another nomination for their last album, 2002's "Phrenology." But their music has never been as widely heard as recent hits by Outkast or Black-Eyed Peas. The new album's title suggests it's only a matter of time.

"The Tipping Point" is broader in scope than "Things Fall Apart" (the 1999 breakthrough release that featured "You Got Me') and less forced than "Phrenology." A tireless touring act with a dedicated following, the Roots don't depend solely on record sales to pay their bills. The new album finds them finally balancing the freedom to thwart studio convention against an opportunity to exploit what they know about crowd-pleasing. "The Tipping Point" revels in the rock-steady fundamentals of the individual band members (led by drummer Amir "?uestlove" Thompson and MC Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter) even as it deploys them in team efforts toward timeless, universal pop.

To that end, there's a number of songs that follow the style of the "Phrenology" single "The Seed," with snappily soulful rock choruses ("I Don't Care," "Guns Are Drawn," "Stay Cool"). "Star" turns the hook from "Everybody Is a Star" into a protest against unskilled rappers hogging the limelight. The album's most likely hit is "Why," which echoes Black Eyed-Peas' "Where Is the Love?" with its plaintive concern for p.c. causes. Stripped-down "Web," on the other hand, aims to dazzle rap fans of all ages with a searing exhibition of pure rhyme prowess. The relatively compact album (12 tracks) closes with "The Mic," a barnburner featuring comedian Dave Chappelle and hip-hop superhero ODB.

A steady stream of smooth changes keeps the album interesting. Songs that could have lasted four minutes go on for seven or eight as the Roots jam, exercising effortless control over tone and mood. Such laid-back virtuosity documents a great band in its prime. But it also precludes the sort of moment likely to grab the attention of the entire world. Sharp as their "Point" may be, the Roots might never pop all the way aboveground.

-- Adam Heimlich

_______________________________________________________________________________

The age of the ignorant rapper is done: http://www.regeneratedheadpiece.com

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand and he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." -- Mike Tyson

_______________________________________________________________________________

Blog: http://bluenatic.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bluenatic
Tumblr: http://bluenaticfringe.tumblr.com/
MSG column archive: http://bit.ly/bgV4T6
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TurkeylegJenkins
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18021 posts
Tue Jul-20-04 09:07 AM

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10. "Kansas City Star"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Link: http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/entertainment/music/9143557.htm?1c

______________________________________________________________________________


The Roots, spreading wide

The Philadelphia band makes hip-hop in a new way: Opening up the house to loose, raw, all-together-now all-night jamming. The result is the aggressive, inspired "The Tipping Point."


It began as a romantic notion, the kind that emerges from late-night idle talk on the bus: What would happen if the Roots, the preeminent live band in all of hip-hop, held open-house jam sessions to harvest new material?

"The way we were talking at first, it was like going back to the Garden, pre-snake," says Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, the drummer of the Philadelphia outfit, recalling the brainstorm that led to weeks of tumultuous, free-form music-making last fall. The sessions, held almost nightly in the band's cramped rehearsal-cum-recording space off Callowhill Street, kick-started work on The Tipping Point, the Roots' sixth record, and shaped the album's spare, full-frontal attack.

"We wanted to get back to the attitude we had around Organix," the Roots' 1993 debut, Thompson says. "We all missed that energy of everybody just getting down, being innocent, not caring what happened."

The sessions - with Roots regulars and guests including Jill Scott, Bilal, Vernon Reid and comic Dave Chappelle - brought back that bickering spontaneity almost instantly. In addition to playing up the Roots' diabolical strength - an old-school, groove-tending approach that's nearly a lost art - they shook the veteran collective out of its accustomed mode of record-making.

Like most in hip-hop, the Roots have typically built recordings one layer at a time, assembly-line style. By placing the emphasis on interaction, The Tipping Point captures a relentlessly aggressive sound in the spirit of peak-form James Brown.

The Roots, whose influence on hip-hop exceeds their sales, won a Grammy for "You Got Me," featuring Erykah Badu, off of 1999's Phrenology. Yet looking back, "We had to admit that our last three records were made like the White Album or Abbey Road," says Thompson, surrounded by molded-plastic keyboards of the space-age '60s, computer gear, and thousands of vinyl records in the studio that is practically his second home.

"I'd do my parts, then give them to Kamal , who would add keyboards. Then Hub would come in and play bass, and on and on. Then Thought would do his thing. That can be efficient, but in terms of inspiration, it's limited.

"Just having all of us around for a while, in the room together, was good. We could see what worked and what didn't more quickly."

Evening festivities started about 10, with the core Roots rhythm section and, usually, guitarist "Captain" Kirk Douglas and percussionist Frankie Knuckles. Somebody would kick around a rhythm pattern, or plunk a chord sequence on the keyboard, and soon an idea would take hold.

Guests drifted in and out: One night, Jill Scott and Bilal were locked in a fiery duet; another night, guitarist Vernon Reid wove skronky textures while vocalist Jaguar ran the show. Musicians and singers working at nearby studios dropped by: After a few minutes watching from the control room, inspiration would hit and they'd slide in, without missing a beat, to relieve someone of an instrument. Guest MCs - among them Dice Raw, J-Live, Jean Grae and Little Brother - jumped in too, trading phrases or short diatribes, engaging in instant battles and call-and-response volleys.

And everybody tripped out when the sound-warping electronic trio Dälek, of Newark, N.J., showed up one night, sending gales of reverberating feedback through the groove.

The Roots engineered the artistic collisions and fostered a tone of supreme whatever-happens looseness in the rehearsal space, which they transformed into a graffiti-walled hangout. A stripper's stage, with mirror and pole, was installed in the lobby, and on select nights the spot was active with entertainers imported from various gentlemen's clubs. ("Chalk it up to band morale," Thompson says, laughing. "As PC as we are, this is still a 'sex, drugs, rock-and-roll' operation.") It was a gathering, a happening, more party than recording session.

Yet there had to be some discipline: After all, the band was looking for usable ideas. It fell to Thompson to navigate that fine line between chaos and discipline.

"We made it clear to everybody that we were looking for songs," Thompson says. "A couple of times I was in the unfamiliar position of having to guide things back on track when the jams got a little too free. Playing traffic cop was definitely a sensitive task. I found myself talking about 'melodic content' and 'easily digestible hooks.' I was saying things I never thought I'd say 10 years ago."

After the jams, captured mostly on computer hard drives, came the enormous task of sifting through the nightly rambles. The band invited several producers to come by and scan the almost 3,000 jam excerpts for moments when the music started to percolate.

"You have to have the patience of Job," says Thompson, who helped assemble a highlight reel. "Each song is like 23 minutes long, and the real moment when it peaks might not come until 17 minutes in."

Trotter, who kept a low profile during the jams, checked out the selected bits. He shunned temperate neo-soul and hip-hop and began to write rhymes to the more agitated beats. His choice, Thompson says, dictated the direction of The Tipping Point.

"I think , the music around him didn't allow him to express all of what was on his mind," Thompson says. "To me, he's more straight-up and vulnerable than he's ever been. Maybe it's the turning-30 thing, but whatever it was, it kicked his ."

"What I liked was when the sound was very raw, unrefined - like unwashed denim," says Trotter. "I'm a street MC and sometimes when things got too pretty, that element could get lost."

The Roots worked up several tracks from the jam tapes, rerecording the instrumental parts that became the apocalyptic "Guns Are Drawn" and a crafty bit of sample-mangling called "Boom." (Not all of the guests turn up on The Tipping Point.) Then came something totally unexpected: Several of the producers who had popped into the sessions - or, in the case of L.A. producer and longtime Roots collaborator Scott Storch, were sent recordings of them - sent along songs propelled by that same performance energy.

Richard Nichols, the Roots' manager and guiding spirit, says that, for him, that was The Tipping Point's tipping point: "It was like the jam mentality continued after the sessions... . It seemed to infect everything." Well, not everything: Some tracks from the ultra-hot Neptunes didn't fit the vibe, Thompson says.

Trotter did some writing and recording away from the band, and by late January the set was finished. That's when the next challenge presented itself: Though its sound is a world away from the band's elaborately arty Phrenology, and would seem an easier sell, The Tipping Point needed support within the executive suites at the Roots' new label, Geffen Records.

At one of the first playback sessions, Jimmy Iovine - head of Interscope Records, Geffen's parent - heard the shakedown song "Don't Say Nuthin'," with its indecipherable, mumbled refrain, and was blown away. Then he heard the rest of the album, and dedicated the label not just to selling the music, but to selling the Roots' whole renegade concept - something no previous executive had ever appreciated.

"It reminded me of the first time Interscope worked on U2," Iovine said recently. "There are things the Roots can do, that they're better at, than anybody else. To me, that means you can't just get a song across, you have to get the whole meaning of the band across."

Thompson and the others, who have heard the lofty pronouncements of industry bigwigs fade into the ether before, say that despite the album's title, they're not simply trying to tip into the mainstream. Having experienced the electricity of on-the-fly creativity, they're more committed than ever to defying expectations, Thompson says.

"I thought Phrenology was our rebel record, and also the so-called art record. But as we got into this one, I realized there's this other kind of rebellion the Roots are capable of: It's risky in a different way, because it's so blunt.

"It got easy for us to hide behind weirdness, but this time we're not doing that. We're coming straight at you. We don't want you to be too comfortable."

-- Tom Moon

_______________________________________________________________________________

The age of the ignorant rapper is done: http://www.regeneratedheadpiece.com

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand and he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." -- Mike Tyson

_______________________________________________________________________________

Blog: http://bluenatic.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bluenatic
Tumblr: http://bluenaticfringe.tumblr.com/
MSG column archive: http://bit.ly/bgV4T6
Facebook: http://www.face

  

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TurkeylegJenkins
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18021 posts
Tue Jul-20-04 09:11 AM

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11. "Pop Matters"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Link: http://www.popmatters.com/music/reviews/r/roots-tipping.shtml

______________________________________________________________________________


The Roots have long been critical darlings for their skill as well as their belief in having a serious and committed musical sensibility. After all, the more consequential music is, the more important the people who "explain" it to you become. I wouldn't be writing about music if I didn't think there was something crucial to human life in its experience, from its ability to convey the need for political change to the transcendent pleasure of just being wholly consumed by its presence. If I'm not mistaken, some of those same thoughts drive The Roots to move hip-hop from the realm of popularity to the realm of importance, not in the sense of a preening critical elite, but in the way that albums because indispensably communicable, passed on and "got" by successive generations of people who live and die by the altar of their stereos. By weaving Sly and The Family Stone into the first track, "Star/Pointro", The Roots reveal a pining for the soul records of a bygone era, the kind of music that attempted to start a party and change a few minds, both infectious and exerted in the same stroke.

With a few caveats and nits, they have succeeded. The Roots have come through with the sort of record that I can see showing to my grandkids (should they materialize) to prove to them that my generation knew how to funk shit up and feed our heads at the same time. I would even self-consciously use the phrase "feed our heads" to evoke that rascally era, the 1960s, because I plan on being an esoteric sort of grandparent.

One of the difficulties of grandiosity, as the Icarus myth cruelly reminds us, is that it's fraught with the risk of failure that increases exponentially with ambition. Calling the record The Tipping Point invites a level of scrutiny I think they should have avoided. The title refers to the pop sociology book, The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, which outlines the way in which big change emerges from the proverbial flutter of a butterfly's wings or the small word of mouth crumbs we toss into the world. The problem with having a conceit such as this embedded in a record (it's included in a rambling, tedious spoken word end to the intro) is that it leads me to gauge their success in terms far more philosophically framed. What tipping point? Do they consider this record a kind of watershed in hip-hop?

Considered on those terms, it's hard not to see The Tipping Point as a confused reach and a premature declaration of evolution. If it's a major success, it's one of process, a triumph over the dulling effects of contemporary music production, a record that captures much of the catalytic fire of live creativity without sacrificing the outstretched hand of structure. Certainly this feel was strenuously intentioned, a product of inviting friends like Dave Chapelle and fellow neo-old schoolers like Jean Grae (among others) for the extended jam sessions whose distillation became this record. Perhaps The Tipping Point is meant to have that anticipatory edge, the sense that The Roots are attempting to revitalize their genre by threading mainstream hip-hop's idolatry of the hook with underground hip-hop's consciousness raising and worshipful sense of musical genealogy. In terms of their own oeuvre, it's certainly a solid addition, even if it suffers from the molting pain that comes from incorporating music that's so stylistically against their own grain. At times, they end up sopping up too many of pop hip-hop's flaws. That nick sounds most evident in some of the lyrical low points that seem stunted by their attempt to mimic the ricochet of freestyling, but only serve to highlight the imaginative constraints of rhyming on the fly.

It's not surprising that the chemistry in such a Frankenstein cocktail would be volatile, creating songs that sometimes accomplish the virtues of neither of their reference points. "I Don't Care" takes a stab at the perennial summer club thumper. Despite the locomotively tight drums that barrel beneath the track, it's mouth-to-mouth for a corpse, particularly with the mid-range R&B chorus that sounds so by-the-numbers, it's retching. It's radio edit ready and given their track record as musicians it stinks of concession. On the other side of the coin, some of the more indulgent outings sound like funk amok, unrefined ideas prematurely committed to record. "Why (What's Goin'On?)" errs on the side of jamming, 16 minutes of groove and scat echo that fight for your attention with pillowed claws. It's a textbook example of how a mantra can turn into a skipping piece of vinyl and how the intensity of being in a jam session does not necessarily transfer to the people listening to it.

The beats truly steal the shine of The Tipping Point, bolting the listener into grooves so confident and complete, that it sounds like someone telegraphing "move your ass" into your bones. "Don't SayNuthin'", which has one of the best drunkenly mumbled threats of a chorus I've ever heard, shuffles in on claps and snare, weaving and sneaking, like someone whispering code as they walk past on a crowded street. Here they manage to outdo Timbaland with beats improbably drawn but impossible not to follow. Nearly every rhythm on the Tipping Point sounds titanium taut, a feat of meticulous construction that repeatedly amazes.

Whatever its excesses, The Tipping Point, like almost every Roots record, has no peer group from which to lob any lasting complaints. Even given it's periodic soft spots, The Roots deserve flooding praise for creating a lit fuse of a record that feels bigger than my immediate capacity to absorb, a long-term joy whose architecture I will still be surprised by years down the road. If "tipping point" doesn't work well as a metaphor perhaps they could have found a better one in cartography. If this fails to inaugurate a new paradigm for hip-hop, it certainly shows the ways in which audience and artistry need not be a conflict of diminishing returns, and the ways in which the underground and the charts have much to learn from one another. The Roots are the perfect marriage of credibility and accessibility. The Tipping Point is a caught breath on their way to their next incarnation, a melding momentum that just might lead the promise of it's title.

-- Terry Sawyer

_______________________________________________________________________________

The age of the ignorant rapper is done: http://www.regeneratedheadpiece.com

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand and he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." -- Mike Tyson

_______________________________________________________________________________

Blog: http://bluenatic.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bluenatic
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MSG column archive: http://bit.ly/bgV4T6
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TurkeylegJenkins
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18021 posts
Tue Jul-20-04 09:12 AM

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12. "Billboard"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Link: http://www.billboard.com/bb/reviews/album_article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000573465

__________________________________________________________________________


On its sixth studio set, the Philadelphia-based quartet—drummer ?uestlove, MC Black Thought, keyboardist Kamal and bassist Leonard Hubbard—returns to hip-hop basics. An homage to Big Daddy Kane and Kool G. Rap, "Boom" finds Black Thought deftly imitating both MCs. He also takes center stage on lead single "Don't Say Nuthin." The minimalist track, produced by Scott Storch, and its eye-grabbing video, is garnering much attention for the group. Other highlights include the melodic "Star" and "I Don't Care" (featuring Dom). Among the disc's hidden gems is "Din Da Da," which uses George Kranz's early-'80s club smash, "Trommeltanz (Din Daa Daa)," as a base for ?uestlove to stretch out on the skins. The result is stunning. "The Tipping Point," named after Malcolm Gladwell's book of the same name, proves that you can go home again.

—RH

_______________________________________________________________________________

The age of the ignorant rapper is done: http://www.regeneratedheadpiece.com

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand and he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." -- Mike Tyson

_______________________________________________________________________________

Blog: http://bluenatic.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bluenatic
Tumblr: http://bluenaticfringe.tumblr.com/
MSG column archive: http://bit.ly/bgV4T6
Facebook: http://www.face

  

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TurkeylegJenkins
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18021 posts
Tue Jul-20-04 02:08 PM

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13. "AllHipHop"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Link: http://www.allhiphop.com/reviews/?ID=363

_____________________________________________________________________________


When The Roots released their sixth album, Phrenology, in 2002, the general consensus was that while great moments were there, it left you more scratching your head than nodding it. Two years later and enter The Tipping Point, a partial about face to Phrenology and their most conventional album to date.

The title is taken from Malcolm Gladwell’s 2002 book of the same name, which argues that ideas, behaviors and products spread in a similar fashion to viruses. Once a small group picks up an idea, their behavior will extend to more and more people until a critical mass, or “Tipping Point,” is reached. (Think of the proliferation of Von Dutch shirts and trucker hats across different demographics.)

Have The Roots, with their seventh album, reached this point?

It's a question that's hard, if not impossible, to answer. Up until Point, each album, while not detouring, has veered sonically from its predecessor. While the skillfulness of the band members remained a constant, the group has thrived on pushing the boundaries of what hip-hop is “supposed to sound like” both within the genre and the band itself. Listen to Do You Want More?!!!??! and Phrenology back to back and tell me you're hearing the same group. The effect has led to admiration, alienation and, especially with Phrenology, bemusement. As each record was released, one wondered if “this was gonna be the new Roots sound from now on," only to be thrown some sort of curve on the subsequent album. With Point, this streak is over, as The Roots deliver a fairly straightforward, and mostly solid, set of tracks.

This is not to imply any sort of slacking or musical boredom on the part of the band. The Roots helped invent the idea of a hip-hop headphone listen and Point is no exception. Key instruments float in the background throughout entire songs. “Duck Down!” constantly bounces percussion from one ear to the other and back. “Star” ends with a guitar riff that could be in a Kabuki performance. You could probably count on two hands the number of hip-hop albums you hear new things on your tenth listen and for this, The Roots should be commended.

But the added elements that turned off many listeners to Phrenology – the hardcore homage of “!!!!”, the freak-out free jazz that ends “Water” (arguably the scariest hip-hop track ever made) – are gone and what is left is The Roots’ “safest” album, with tracks that range from at least good to occasionally incredible.

“Star,” the first half of opening track “Star/Pointro” deftly samples Sly and the Family Stone’s “Everybody is a Star” that-with its funk guitar riff and vocal samples reminiscent of early RZA production-immediately reminds you why you liked this band in the first place. Same goes for “Don’t Say Nuthin’” and “Stay Cool,” two standouts on the album. On “Nuthin’,” Scott Storch’s eerie keyboard sound recalls Kamal’s work on Illadelph’s “Panic!!!!”. Lending to the dark feel of the album's first single is Black Thought's mumbled chorus which, perhaps unexpectedly, serves as an appropriate vocal accompaniment. “Stay Cool” anchors itself around the same Al Hirt sax sample De La Soul famously used for Buhloone Mindstate’s “Ego Trippin’ (Pt. 2)”, augmented by what can best be described as snake charmer background music and a Pharrell-soundalike Spon on the hook. The Roots have the unique ability to take sounds you’ve heard countless times and make them feel fresh and unique. Perhaps not coincidentally, “Cool” is followed by a pair of tracks, “Web” and “Boom!” that embrace their respect for the veterans that pave the way, reminiscent of Phrenology's “Thought @ Work” and “Things Fall Apart’s “Table of Contents, Pt. 1,” “Web” is a Black Thought vocal demonstration that proves why he is vocally one of the best emcees in hip-hop. “Boom!” sees Black Thought doing spot-on imitations of Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap over ?uestlove's raw drumming.

The major complaint that Thought doesn’t really say anything is only slightly assuaged on Point. Known more for his vocal delivery and cadence (listen to how he flawlessly rhymes “man” with “playin’” on “Don’t Say Nuthin’”), Thought does get political on “Guns Are Drawn” and “Why (What’s Going On?)”. On the former, he rhymes, “You know the stakes is high, we in the face of drama/That’s why we can’t shake it or escape the problem/It’s like a game of roulette the barrel revolving/They only wanna see us occupying a coffin.” His delivery complements the music so well though that his lyrics, at this point, may be treated by many as an afterthought. At least he’s saying more than most commercially successful emcees.

The souled-out R&B influence has come up before in The Roots' catalog, particularly on Phrenology, but nowhere is it more present than on Point. Virtually every song uses a neo-soul crooner to sing the hook, steering The Roots as much into fellow Okayplayers D’angelo & Jill Scott territory as their rap peers. While at times the choruses fit the song perfectly, as on “Stay Cool,” other hooks feel forced and pieced together with the rest of the song carelessly, particularly on “Duck Down!” With a hook that borders on sappy and a beat that goes nowhere, “I Don’t Care” is the only song that stands out as an overall dud on the album.

What will probably be the first thing people notice about Point is how quickly it ends. As hip-hop albums get longer and longer and more skits, interludes etc. are added for no discernible reason, it is a testament to a band whose last four albums have all exceeded 70 minutes to make a 10-track, under 50-minute record (not counting the bonus track which sees Dave Chappelle riding the popularity of his Lil’ Jon imitation). ?uestlove has been quoted as saying that his favorite albums are all under 35 minutes and the brevity of the album only reinforces the strength of the music. Starting off as a bunch of different Philly jam sessions, the music would eventually morph and be shaped into what you hear on the album.

In contrast to the usual diminishing stature of rap groups as they dissolve, fall out of fashion, or just plain make bad music, The Roots get more and more important to both hip-hop and contemporary music as a whole with each passing year. They have already proven time and again that they are some of the most gifted musicians working within the genre. On The Tipping Point, are they breaking down any musical barriers and creating a revolutionary new sound? Not really. But the point is: they don't have to. They've set the bar so high for themselves that the mere fact that they made a "normal" hip-hop album is cause for discussion. It should not take away, however, from any laudatory comments they deserve. True, they stumble at times but overall, with The Tipping Point, The Roots continue to solidify their place as one of the foremost creative groups in music.

-- Jason Newman

_______________________________________________________________________________

The age of the ignorant rapper is done: http://www.regeneratedheadpiece.com

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand and he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." -- Mike Tyson

_______________________________________________________________________________

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TurkeylegJenkins
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Tue Jul-20-04 02:12 PM

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14. "London Daily Telegraph"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2004/07/08/bmroots08.xml

___________________________________________________________________________


Ready for the big fight


Daring, genre-busting – the Roots have always confounded expectations. Andrew Perry travels to New York to find that their new album has them poised for mainstream success

Hip hop is getting good again. After spending quite a few years stuck in a monotonous groove of sour-faced machismo and dubious gangsta-ism, the recent success of OutKast, Kelis and production wizards the Neptunes has ushered in a more broadminded and forward-thinking approach.

It has actually been around for a while, like OutKast themselves, servicing a collegiate-type fan base, scoring minor hits, poised for a lull in the East Coast/West Coast crossfire, all ready to go global.

High-ranking in this deeply musical, almost scholarly scene are Philadelphia's real-instrument-playing collective, the Roots. They are already a big live draw worldwide thanks to their astonishing musicianship, the kind of band that festival-goers across Europe have stumbled upon and fallen in love with.

Thus far, they have released five albums, which have increasingly extended hip hop's creative envelope. A song from 1999's Things Fall Apart (their fourth), called You Got Me, spearheaded the so-called "neo-soul" sound. Guest-starring singers Erykah Badu and fellow Philadelphian Jill Scott, it won the band a Grammy.

Despite having thus potentially hit upon a winning formula, their next album, last year's Phrenology, was weird, the anti-Roots album. They'd established themselves by making hip hop, not with the traditional armoury of turntables and samplers, but with drums, bass guitar, keyboards, etc.

On Phrenology, they used samples, all manner of mix trickery, anything that might negate their identity as that band that plays hip hop with real instruments. One track was drum and bass; another techno; another again a punky thrash.

Phrenology made a dent in the mainstream charts in America, and was a solid cult success here, but, in the meantime, the OutKast/Neptunes axis have scored in the multi-platinum zone with a similarly outré, hi-tech take on hip hop.

Little wonder, then, that their paymasters at Universal are investing heavily in The Tipping Point, their imminent sixth long-player which I went to New York City to hear at a playback in Jimi Hendrix's famous Electric Lady Studios.

The location, though no doubt savagely expensive to hire, is hardly the epicentre of "bling" culture. From the outside, Electric Lady is a poky doorway in Greenwich Village. Within, it's as if you've fallen head-first into 1971. Lava lamps gloop away on the mixing console, incense permeates the air, and, on one wall, a garish mural depicts two nymphs at the bridge of a candy-coloured spaceship, gazing out into a twinkly infinity.


The Roots themselves are avuncular and nattily attired - a far cry from the Uzi-under-basketball-shirt threat of other mainstream rap crews.

One of their two guitarists, Martin Luther, sports a Ramones T-shirt. His recently joined fellow guitarist goes by the name of Kirk Douglas.

Ahmir Thompson, the Roots' drummer and philosophical leader, has the most outstanding afro I have ever seen.

Eventually, the album is played. Thompson and the other band members circulate, making sure that people avail themselves of the satay, tempura and white wine. The booze remains virtually untouched.

With typical contrariness, The Tipping Point is a near-total reversal of Phrenology's mind-bending, multi-generic experimentalism. It offers 10 tracks of no-nonsense, up-front hip hop. To prove the point, once the playback is over, the band take to the studio's little sound stage, and fire off three tracks, including the hard-hitting single Don't Say Nuthin' .

Now shorn of their two gimmicky "human beatboxes", they are stunningly direct. In particular, their MC, known as Black Thought (real name Tariq Trotter), is a revelation, clearly feeling he has something to prove against recurrent allegations that he's something of a lightweight on the mike.

The sense that the Roots are emerging from their corner, ready for the big fight, is confirmed the following lunchtime, when I meet Thompson in his hotel room.

He appears to be running Roots Inc single-handedly right there in his room, with all manner of e-gadgetry humming at his fingerips. Earlier, he took a call from Justin Timberlake's people, requesting his drumming services for two weeks in Australia. He told them that he's got his own stuff to do.

"This album is the biggest risk of the Roots career," he says. "Believe me, it was tempting to try and outdo Speakerboxx/The Love Below - you know, get crazier and freakier, get rhyming over a 6/4 metre, and have accordians and a beatbox and a singing dog.

"Then I thought, no - what would be the biggest surprise of all? To do a normal record. Not rely on the novelty of us being a band, or our obscure jazz references, or 'I know how to play drum and bass'. Just write 10 strong songs. Now that's a risk."

Thompson was born in Philadelphia in 1971 to "post-revolutionary, post-hippie" parents, and didn't have the same funk/soul background as most black kids. He was also weaned on the Beatles and the Beach Boys. He claims to own 40,000 records, a vast database from which he draws the knowledge to perform, on a live drumkit, the "breaks" that lay the foundation of hip hop.

The Roots had been going for five years, when, circa 1993, they landed a deal with British-based label Talkin' Loud. Bizarrely, they decamped en masse from Philadelphia to a house in north London. There they lived for three years, swimming helplessly against the tide of gangsta rap, as the more enlightened elements of hip hop sank without trace.

They returned home and ground out a career for themselves. "Hip hoppers never used to think of careers," Thompson observes. "I even wonder if the Rolling Stones actually thought, 'There will be life after Their Satanic Majesties Request.' "

Still, here they are now with The Tipping Point, offering another challenge to the varying demographics to which they've appealed in the past. "This album is the naked album," he says. "We're not dependent on any star power, any additives or preservatives. This is just the Roots, straight up."

His mobile rings: it's the Neptunes inviting him to join them on stage later at one of their NERD shows at the Roseland Ballroom. He accepts, hangs up and casually informs me that the production duo, who have been courted by everyone from Madonna to Jamie Cullum, worked on two tracks for potential inclusion on The Tipping Point. Such was the Roots' singularity of vision that, despite the kudos attached, they deemed the tracks too oddball and didn't use them.

Later on, though, I spot Thompson goofing around on stage at the Roseland.

His afro is looming over the action like a giant black lightbulb. Not long now, surely, before the guru becomes a star in his own right.


_______________________________________________________________________________

The age of the ignorant rapper is done: http://www.regeneratedheadpiece.com

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand and he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." -- Mike Tyson

_______________________________________________________________________________

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/bluenatic
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TurkeylegJenkins
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Tue Jul-20-04 02:14 PM

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15. "Daily Yomiuri (Japan)"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Link: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/newse/20040715woa3.htm

__________________________________________________________________________


When Philadelphia hip-hop outfit the Roots dropped Phrenology two winters ago, it was a major revelation. For the first time in its illustrious career, the group had managed to create a studio album that perfectly reflected the roaring energy and musical creativity of its live shows.

From the intensive beats of "Rock You" to the antidrug epic "Water" and the smoothly infectious "Break You Off," the band jumped from one musical style to another--sometimes in the middle of the same song--while retaining melody, slick hooks and, most importantly, an organic sound that made it feel like you were attending a jam session in your own living room.

All this makes the Roots' latest effort, The Tipping Point, a little disappointing, because it comes off sounding a bit too professional. All the tracks are solidly produced, and Black Thought's rapping is on par with that of the last album. But the release feels too safe, despite the group's drummer and philosophical guru, ?uestlove, having said in interviews that this album was going to represent "the sum of our six records and our 12 years as a band."

There's less of an organic sound than on Phrenology--more drum machines, more voice tweaking--and more of a tendency to create cool grooves than incendiary musical ideas. At worst, the Roots are caught borrowing from other artists, like the Southern beat on "Duck Down," which Timbaland could have produced in his sleep. The band also show signs of sloppiness as on the leadoff single "Don't Say Nuthin," which initially seems like a bling-culture parody--especially with a mumbled hook where the only clear lines are "Cut the check/Give it here/And don't say nuthin'"--except closer inspection shows Thought reveling in that very culture in some of the lines.

Fortunately, there are moments of greatness on this album. The opener "Star" is a magnificent feat of production, giving the appearance that Thought is giving a heartfelt lament of the sacrifices people make for fame with the actual Sly and the Family Stone as back-up singers. "Why (What's Going On?)" and "Guns Are Drawn" are imbued with haunting lyrics and reggae-inspired hooks, while Thought goes all out on an impressive two-track rap-a-thon on "Web" and "Boom!"

Still, there's always a nagging sense that the Roots didn't work hard enough on this album, which is a shame considering their shows prove them to be one of the hardest-working live acts on the planet.

-- Zal Sethna

_______________________________________________________________________________

The age of the ignorant rapper is done: http://www.regeneratedheadpiece.com

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand and he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." -- Mike Tyson

_______________________________________________________________________________

Blog: http://bluenatic.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bluenatic
Tumblr: http://bluenaticfringe.tumblr.com/
MSG column archive: http://bit.ly/bgV4T6
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TurkeylegJenkins
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Tue Jul-20-04 02:32 PM

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16. "HipHopDX"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Link: http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/reviews/id.433
____________________________________________________________________________


From the time their under-the-radar debut “Organix” dropped in 1994, it has been a steady evolution for The Roots. Their mind bending talents were evident at every turn and with each ensuing release critics and fans alike constantly called for The Roots to spread their wings, push the envelope, etc. Being a band, an incredible one at that, the sky seemed the limit for their music. The sky was not the limit, “Phrenology” was. The envelope was pushed, and many were scared, they complained, they criticized; they seemed to miss the point. So now there is a new point, and it is most certainly “The Tipping Point.” As it was, The Roots were either gonna push the envelope further, or they were gonna tear it up and start from scratch.

Tear it up they did. “The Tipping Point” is simple and it’s raw, and it is flawless. To be fair, none of those adjectives are entirely true. Everything this crew does is complex and very polished, even when they are doing simple and raw. And yes, there are some flaws. I could really nitpick and say that the hook for “The Mic” doesn’t work, or point out that “Don’t Say Nuthin’” isn’t “their sound.” However, “The Mic” is a great song and “Don’t Say Nuthin’” is even better, I don’t care if it is easily consumable. $50 steaks are easily consumed too. Rocking a Sly and the Family Stone sample, “Star” kicks off the album in tremendous fashion. Black Thought in particular sets the tone for the album. See, Tariq is one of the most unappreciated emcees ever to hold a cordless and it would seem he no longer intends to be overlooked. Example, “Kids calls themselves killers, let their hands do the talking/don't even know the meaning of life/ain't seen a thing/and you dreaming/flooding the scenery/with yayo and greenery/but for now, you stickin’ em with the heavy machinery.”

Bearing witness to Thought’s exploits here may leave you in tears. It would be logical to assume that “Boom” features BT alongside those Juice Crew legends Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap. The deliveries, the voices, the flows, hell, even G Rap’s lisp is in tact, and why shouldn’t it be? Well because it is Black Thought, not Kane and G Rap. Even Kane is scratching his head wondering when he collaborated with The Roots. Then you’ve got “The Web,” 3 minutes of in-the-park, hand-on-the-nuts, showing-and-proving rhymes over a raw, bare bones track. Off the dome to boot? Marinate on that. Plus to silence critics who accuse him of not saying shit (gotta complain about something right?), Thought tackles a multitude of subjects, from poverty to war and many a social ill in between.

Of course, with the production what it is, it isn’t always easy to focus on Thought’s thoughts. Just try not getting caught up in “Guns Are Drawn” or “Duck Down.” Or get through “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” without signing Devin The Dude’s hook to yourself the whole time. Actually I can manage when I hear Jean Grae’s sexy voice. What else can I really say? “Stay Cool” is just so slick, “I Don’t Care” is dope as hell and “Why?” is as good a song as The Roots have ever made. It just doesn’t get much better than this, so for the second time this year I’ve gotta do something I rarely do. Look at those boxes full of X’s up there, it is that serious.

-- J23

_______________________________________________________________________________

The age of the ignorant rapper is done: http://www.regeneratedheadpiece.com

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand and he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." -- Mike Tyson

_______________________________________________________________________________

Blog: http://bluenatic.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bluenatic
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MSG column archive: http://bit.ly/bgV4T6
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Khalil19
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Wed Jul-21-04 10:39 AM

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17. "RE: Consolidated Tipping Point Reviews Thread"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

OKAY,

I think I've listened to it enough to give my 2 cents. I think this is an extremely clever album. I purposely didn't read any other reviews because I wanted to form my own opinion. I'll start by saying my favorite emcee is Common, but I think BT is better. Not because he filled this album with complex cadences or "DEEP" lyrics. Instead the message I got from them (The Roots) is they can jump through any hoop you put in front of them. When it comes to rhyming, most emcees just trace the popular flow of that moment. When I listened to the style of each track I can only pick out a handful of original musical and lyrical ideas. That's not a diss by the way. They showed me in this album that they can do what you and anyone else can do. And in most cases...they do it better. Track 9 has an obvious Dirty South flow, but they took that style to..."The Tipping Point". My favorite tracks are 4 & 7. Guns are Drawn is just everything I like about The Roots..nuff said. Boom is why BT is #1 right now to me. His range as an emcee is superior to anyone out right now. He doesn't have to prove anything else to those of us that have been down from the jump. If you don't like this album then I guess you just didn't GET IT!!!

You don't impress me!!




RIP Reggie...I love you!! http://i1206.photobucket.com/albums/bb449/Mynewstuff2011/RegLover.jpg



https://www.instagram.com/hawkcomedy/

  

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okayplaya
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564 posts
Wed Jul-21-04 01:18 PM

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18. "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette"
In response to Reply # 0


          

Link: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/04194/345057.stm
____________________________________________________________

Solid beats and rhymes keep The Roots in their groove
Monday, July 12, 2004

By Ed Masley, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Roots don't waste any time getting into the groove on "The Tipping Point," They kick it off with a crackling turntable sample of Sly and the Family Stone's "Everybody is A Star" as MC Black Thought waxes reflective on various issues of the day, from kids who "let the hammers do the talkin'" to the sorry state of modern hip-hop and his own place in it.

"I'm a star and maybe ya'll should cop something to read," he boasts. "Or trade some of ya'll equipment for something you need."

It's not that he'd given you reason to question his skills on the mike going into "The Tipping Point," but Black Thought more than lives up to his boasting as the Roots step back a bit from the envelope-pushing sprawl that made 2002's "Phrenology" a hit with critics in favor of bringing the beat with an old-school vibe, more funk and soul, no hardcore punk or weird experimental tracks (although there is an Al Hirt sample, previously used by De La Soul).

On "Web," they strip it down to hip-hop's bare essentials -- beats (by hip-hop's greatest drummer, ?uestlove) and serious lyrical pyrotechnics -- making good on Black Thought's promise earlier this year in Rolling Stone that they'd be "going backwards ... trying to plug a void and bring what's been missing back to hip-hop," noting that "It's less about layers and layers of samples and more about the beats and the rhymes."

And so it is.

But when they wrap those beats and rhymes around a solid hook, as in "I Don't Care" or "Guns are Drawn," those moments more than hold their own against that hook on loan from "Everybody is a Star."

And nobody says that lightly.

In a world where everybody is a star and classic records are as few are far between as Black Thought says they are in "Star," a 50 Cent may move more units, but the Roots are onto something timeless here.

To hear a sample of "The Tipping Point" a day before it hits the streets, don't miss the Roots tonight at Station Square as the opening act on 311's gig at the Chevrolet Amphitheatre.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(Ed Masley can be reached at emasley@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1865.)

  

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TurkeylegJenkins
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18021 posts
Thu Jul-22-04 02:40 AM

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21. "Toronto Eye Weekly"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Link: http://www.eye.net/eye/issue/issue_07.15.04/music/ondisc.html

_____________________________________________________________________________


As long as there have been samplers, there have been hip-hop albums that begin with the sound of a needle dropping into a dusty groove. Even hip-hop's pre-eminent live band can't resist the urge to open their sixth album with this old-school signifier -- but the beauty of The Roots is that they feel old-school without being old-fashioned.

The crackling vinyl intro to The Tipping Point's "Star/Pointro" is followed by a sample of Sly Stone's"Everybody Is a Star," which seems like an obvious nod to The Roots' funk forefathers -- until you hear Black Thought twist Sly's sentiment into a cunning commentary on starry-eyed MCs, casually building up a wily intensity over six minutes.

The track is a triumph of stark beauty, and an appropriately dreamlike introduction to this subdued set, which eschews the adventurous spirit of 2002's frenetic Phrenology for a chilled consistency that evokes the band's 1996 breakthrough Illadeph Halflife. Ironically, The Roots' most streamlined set to date was culled from a series of free-form jams. But instead of broadening their scope, the experiment has narrowed it, resulting in short tracks built around lone horn/Rhodes refrains, clockwork drum beats and slack R&B choruses.

The stripped-down settings do give more room for Black Thought to wage his war of words: the freestyle centrepiece "Web" -- which offsets its spare cymbal/snare beat and single bass note with a nailbomb rhyme assault -- represents both an album and a career high. But The Tipping Point is surprisingly bereft of The Roots' onstage muscle. Only after the earnest anti-war address, "Why (What's Goin On?)" fades out do we hear the riot that was really goin' on in those jam sessions, on two hyperactive hidden tracks: the first a piano-pounding pogo-rap, the second an extended percussive freakout. It's kind of like a movie that saves its best bits for the outtake reel running through the credits.

-- STUART BERMAN

_______________________________________________________________________________

The age of the ignorant rapper is done: http://www.regeneratedheadpiece.com

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand and he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." -- Mike Tyson

_______________________________________________________________________________

Blog: http://bluenatic.com
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TurkeylegJenkins
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18021 posts
Thu Jul-22-04 02:42 AM

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22. "BBC"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/urban/reviews/theroots_tipping.shtml

___________________________________________________________________________


It would be easy to view The Roots' sixth studio album as the link between hip hop's golden past and - hopefully - a vision of its shining future. Easy, but simplistic. Certainly Black Thought, ?uestlove and co run the gamut from block party breaks ("Web" and "Boom!") through early 90s consciousness (the sampling of a De La Soul sample on "Stay Cool") to whatever Pharrell might currently be cooking up (new single "Don't Say Nuthin'" or the clattering "Duck Down!") with consummate ease.

But what they actually strive for is far more ambitious, and way beyond mere genre boundaries. Cherry picked from a series of jam sessions, The Tipping Point draws from black music period. From the opening cover (read: reinvention) of Sly Stone's "Everybody Is A Star" to a closing instrumental flurry that flits effortlessly between jazz, funk, rock and reggae - even disco - it could well be the Philadelphian's finest hour.

In other hands, tampering with Sly would have resulted in some P Diddyesque nightmare. That The Roots can transform a bona fide classic into a reaffirmation of their own strengths ("hip hop it's not pop like Kylie Minogue") while also retaining the positive sentiment of the original is no mean feat.

Equally bold are breaker's anthem "Boom!", "Stay Cool" (which finds them feeling "cooler than Clyde Stubblefield, drummer for James") and "Why". The latter, a shout out for those "giving everything they got to stitch swishes on ya Nikes, puttin' pockets on our jeans, buying diamonds for them rings", is as compelling a statement as hip hop has made for some time. Much more of this and they'll be donning capes and Y-fronts over their trousers.

In short, the power of this band to move feet as well as minds remains undiminished. I mean, what is there that The Roots can't do? Besides that question mark - and the one hovering in front of ?uestlove's name - the only wonder is just where they head from here.

-- Adam Webb

_______________________________________________________________________________

The age of the ignorant rapper is done: http://www.regeneratedheadpiece.com

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand and he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." -- Mike Tyson

_______________________________________________________________________________

Blog: http://bluenatic.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bluenatic
Tumblr: http://bluenaticfringe.tumblr.com/
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TurkeylegJenkins
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Thu Jul-22-04 04:53 AM

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23. "RapReviews"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Link: http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2004_07_tipping.html

__________________________________________________________________________


A new Roots album is like Christmas come in July. With no less than a half-dozen albums under their belt since 1993, this group has been at the forefront of a revolution in hip-hop sound and culture. Largely eschewing commercial trends, The Roots sound has embraced instrumentation over sampling, letting drummer and producer ?uestlove set the pace for other aspiring artists to follow. Their already large cult following from albums like " Do You Want More?!!!??!" and "Illadelph Halflife" only grew more with the introduction of their Okayplayer website, where fans can interact with band members and discuss a wide variety of topics on their message boards. As the family of Okayplayer users grew, so too did the number of artists affiliated with The Roots under the OK banner - Common Sense, Dilated Peoples, and Talib Kweli are all members. Even famed cartoonist and social satirist Aaron McGruder can be found at the website, with a new Boondocks comic strip on the home page daily.

The Roots literally have it all, except for satisfaction with the music industry. Their feelings towards the Geffen record label are well known, and certainly not complimentary. Fans of hip-hop and The Roots alike probably feel the same way, especially considering that Roots lead vocalist Black Thought's solo album was essentially complete and ready to be released when they shelved it. While they briefly sought respite in the MCA Records hip-hop division, it eventually folded and so too did the identity of the label itself, swallowed up by Geffen whole. Try going to the MCA Records site and you just come full circle to the Geffen home page. Whether they like it or not, The Roots seem literally planted in the ground at Geffen, left to the whims of whether or not the distant CEO's will allow them to grow or leave the soil barren and dry until even their cult following abandons all hope.

Some of that dissatisfaction is clearly evident in "The Tipping Point." While their 2002 "Phrenology" album was a high water mark, an intense journey through lyrically and musically ambidexterous hip-hop, "The Tipping Point" feels more like a resigned shrug at their predicament of Geffen's inability to understand their vision or push their product properly. When Black Thought has his A-game going there are few people in any genre of music more potent on the microphone thanks to his quick tongue, charismatic flow and unlimited potential as a writer. On songs like the ironically apt "I Don't Care" though Thought seems to be going through the motions. The production is a breezy uptempo number that like many of their singles seems radio friendly without being infuriatingly sappy and crossover, but the delivery here seems as muted as an opium addict coming off a high:

"I don't really know but somebody said
That the O.G. flow, it could fuck witcha head
And the po-lice know that the green black and red
too strong to con-trol, they study what I said
Dig it, my name is 'Riq - and when I'm on the mic
I'm known to spit somethin that these MC's hate
I couldn't care less what you feel what you say
Cause I gotta put it to you in my own special way"

Functional, yes, but not very colorful. If Thought sounded like he gave a shit as he was saying it, they'd probably come off that much fresher. The lead single "Don't Say Nuthin'" is the opposite on both fronts - Thought seems eager to rip here, but the musical backdrop is so lackluster that it's hard to imagine why this joint was chosen to break the album. Still, Thought gives it his best shot:

"That almighty amazing, ill, highly contagious, kamikaze
Sound splash like a shot from a gauge into your body
Sound clash, head of the class, Magna Cum Laude
Beats bring the beast out me, flagrant - foul rowdy
Reed pipe but deed tight, disposition keep on flippin
Keep 'em playin they position, keep makin the people listen
What I spin, put 'em out on a limb
Got tears, got blood, got sweat, leakin out of the pen
Y'all fake niggaz not settin a trend, we never listen to dem
It's like tryin to take a piss in the wind"

One has to wonder if The Roots have the time to recover from these mismatched musical meanderings, considering this brief album is ten tracks long and as such the two cuts above are already 20% of the entire output. Things do get better though, thanks to the fresh "Guns are Drawn" which sounds like a Bob Marley protest song remade into a hip-hop jam session. "Stay Cool" is a response to their fanbase who thinks that just because the band loves to freak it live, they are opposed to sampling (a misconception perpetuated by bad marketing from Geffen). They flip the same Al Hirt sample that De La did for "Ego Trip Pt. 2" and do it mad nice. The stripped down sound of "Web" is just as refreshing - little more than a ?uest on the drum kit and Thought spitting at his very finest:

"Talk sharp like a razor blade under the tongue
Clear my path, and come get your captain hung
Tryin to breathe like Black'll collapse your lung
Young chump, you can choke off the web I spun
I done, cleared 'em out from the threat I brung
You done, heard about what set I'm from
My nigga, word of mouth, new rule of thumb
Y'all better bow down when the ruler come
I'm a real hood nigga, not a hood-a-lum"

Things are kept jumping, as Thought peaks at his most enthusiatic on the intentionally rough sounding "Boom!" - reminiscent of the earliest days of the Wu-Tang Clan, and featuring damn good imitations of Big Daddy Kane and Kool G. Rap that make this a MUST hear. Devin the Dude provides a smooth chorus on the mellow "Somebody's Gotta Do It," where the underrated and incredible Jean Grae jumps in for a verse of her own. Just when it seems that things were on course for a solid finish though, "Duck Down!" features a beat that's overly loud, and in a rare and odd occurance for The Roots, highly irritating. Thought doesn't seem to find any inspiration in it, nor on the closer "Why (What's Goin On?)" which asks the same question Marvin Gaye put definitively to music decades ago.

The sum total of the album is a 60/40 percentage split, which might be good enough to win an election (something titling the album "The Tipping Point" almost seems to hint at) but really isn't up to the standards one expects of the legendary Roots crew. Oddly enough it's possible this album suffers the most just by being too damn short, because The Roots could have easily padded this out from what seems like a short 55 minutes into an hour and ten and given the membership more time to shine. Instead the presentation is short, and at times seems oddly forced instead of natural and uplifting like a typical Roots album. Saying that this release is "whack" would be a mistake, because it's really not. It's just mildly dissapointing that it's not up to their own standards, but it's just as likely that Geffen forced them to put out a full album whether they thought it was ready or not. As a 10+ year fan of the group, I look forward to the day when they can strike out on their own, and the long-absent Black Thought masterpiece finally sees the light. Until then, The Roots may not have their heart in it any more to do or put out their best when it's gonna be fucked by the label no matter what.

Music Vibes: 7 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7 of 10

-- Steve "Flash" Juon

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The age of the ignorant rapper is done: http://www.regeneratedheadpiece.com

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand and he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." -- Mike Tyson

_______________________________________________________________________________

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TurkeylegJenkins
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Thu Jul-22-04 04:56 AM

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24. "Wichita Eagle"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Link: http://www.kansas.com/mld/eagle/entertainment/9180227.htm

_____________________________________________________________________________


Getting back to the Roots

The usually bold hip-hop group returns with the lackluster "Tipping Point."


Malcolm Gladwell's book, "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference," examined how trends evolve from being popular culture to mainstream sensations then cultural epidemics, spreading like viruses.

It also is the reference point and namesake for The Roots' new album, "The Tipping Point," aptly titled because Gladwell's reference to cultural phenomena could very well be The Roots' history encapsulated.

Philly natives The Roots have always been an interesting hybrid -- part jazz band and part cerebral rap crew. Led by MC Black Thought and drummer ?uestlove, albums like 1999's "Things Fall Apart" and 2002's "Phrenology" were groundbreaking works. Unfortunately, "The Tipping Point" is a case of too little, too soon, and suffers in comparison.

Things start off good enough with "Star/Pintro," which could hang with any other Roots cut from the past (except, of course, "You Got Me"). But things go downhill in a hurry after that. Uncommon for a Roots album, cuts here are synthetic and heavily geared toward radio play.

Particularly un-noteworthy are "Don't Say Nothin'". Yes, the current single from the album. So what if it's on the radio? That doesn't make it a good song.

There are two nice hidden cuts , though, one of which features Dave Chapelle in a laugh-out-loud bit.

We've come to expect more from The Roots after all these years, and while "Tipping Point" sets them back a little, it's ground they can regain. Just be careful, guys. As Gladwell's theory also points out, sometimes you can end up tipping the wrong way.

-- Tony Adame

_______________________________________________________________________________

The age of the ignorant rapper is done: http://www.regeneratedheadpiece.com

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand and he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard." -- Mike Tyson

_______________________________________________________________________________

Blog: http://bluenatic.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bluenatic
Tumblr: http://bluenaticfringe.tumblr.com/
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OneNastyNupe
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203 posts
Thu Jul-22-04 11:12 PM

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25. "Sun Journal"
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www.sunjournal.com/news/e...721047.php

PHILADELPHIA - It began as a romantic notion, the kind that emerges from late-night idle talk on the bus: What would happen if the Roots, the preeminent live band in all of hip-hop, held open-house jam sessions to harvest new material?

"The way we were talking at first, it was like going back to the Garden, pre-snake," says Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, the drummer of the Philadelphia outfit, recalling the brainstorm that led to weeks of tumultuous, free-form music-making last fall. The sessions, held almost nightly in the band's cramped rehearsal-cum-recording space, kick-started work on "The Tipping Point," the Roots' sixth record, and shaped the album's spare, full-frontal attack.

"We wanted to get back to the attitude we had around "Organix,"' the Roots' 1993 debut, Thompson says. "We all missed that energy of everybody just getting down, being innocent, not caring what happened."

The sessions - with Roots regulars and guests including Jill Scott, Bilal, Vernon Reid and comic Dave Chappelle - brought back that bickering spontaneity almost instantly. In addition to playing up the Roots' diabolical strength - an old-school, groove-tending approach that's nearly a lost art - they shook the veteran collective out of its accustomed mode of record-making.

Like most in hip-hop, the Roots have typically built recordings one layer at a time, assembly-line style. By placing the emphasis on interaction, "The Tipping Point" captures a relentlessly aggressive sound in the spirit of peak-form James Brown.

The Roots, whose influence on hip-hop exceeds their sales, won a Grammy for "You Got Me," featuring Erykah Badu, off of 1999's "Phrenology." Yet looking back, "We had to admit that our last three records ("Phrenology," "Things Fall Apart" (1999) and "Illadelph Halflife" (1996) were made like the "White Album' or "Abbey Road,"' says Thompson, surrounded by molded-plastic keyboards of the space-age '60s, computer gear, and thousands of vinyl records in the studio that is practically his second home.

"I'd do my parts, then give them to Kamal (keyboardist Kamal Gray), who would add keyboards. Then Hub (Leonard 'Hub' Hubbard) would come in and play bass, and on and on. Then Thought (rapper Tariq 'Black Thought' Trotter) would do his thing. That can be efficient, but in terms of inspiration, it's limited.

"Just having all of us around for a while, in the room together, was good. We could see what worked and what didn't more quickly."

Evening festivities started about 10, with the core Roots rhythm section and, usually, guitarist "Captain" Kirk Douglas and percussionist Frankie Knuckles. Somebody would kick around a rhythm pattern, or plunk a chord sequence on the keyboard, and soon an idea would take hold.

Guests drifted in and out: One night, Jill Scott and Bilal were locked in a fiery duet; another night, guitarist Vernon Reid wove skronky textures while vocalist Jaguar ran the show. Musicians and singers working at nearby studios dropped by: After a few minutes watching from the control room, inspiration would hit and they'd slide in, without missing a beat, to relieve someone of an instrument. Guest MCs - among them Dice Raw, J-Live, Jean Grae and Little Brother - jumped in too, trading phrases or short diatribes, engaging in instant battles and call-and-response volleys.

And everybody tripped out when the sound-warping electronic trio Dalek, of Newark, N.J., showed up one night, sending gales of reverberating feedback through the groove.

The Roots engineered the artistic collisions and fostered a tone of supreme whatever-happens looseness in the rehearsal space, which they transformed into a graffiti-walled hangout. A stripper's stage, with mirror and pole, was installed in the lobby, and on select nights the spot was active with entertainers imported from various gentlemen's clubs. ("Chalk it up to band morale," Thompson says, laughing. "As PC as we are, this is still a 'sex, drugs, rock-and-roll' operation.") It was a gathering, a happening, more party than recording session.

Yet there had to be some discipline: After all, the band was looking for usable ideas. It fell to Thompson to navigate that fine line between chaos and discipline.

"We made it clear to everybody that we were looking for songs," Thompson says. "A couple of times I was in the unfamiliar position of having to guide things back on track when the jams got a little too free. Playing traffic cop was definitely a sensitive task. I found myself talking about 'melodic content' and 'easily digestible hooks.' I was saying things I never thought I'd say 10 years ago."

After the jams, captured mostly on computer hard drives, came the enormous task of sifting through the nightly rambles. The band invited several producers to come by and scan the almost 3,000 jam excerpts for moments when the music started to percolate.

"You have to have the patience of Job," says Thompson, who helped assemble a highlight reel. "Each song is like 23 minutes long, and the real moment when it peaks might not come until 17 minutes in."

Trotter, who kept a low profile during the jams, checked out the selected bits. He shunned temperate neo-soul and hip-hop and began to write rhymes to the more agitated beats. His choice, Thompson says, dictated the direction of "The Tipping Point."

"I think (on the previous CDs), the music around him didn't allow him to express all of what was on his mind," Thompson says. "To me, he's more straight-up and vulnerable than he's ever been. Maybe it's the turning-30 thing, but whatever it was, it kicked his (behind)."

"What I liked was when the sound was very raw, unrefined - like unwashed denim," says Trotter. "I'm a street MC and sometimes when things got too pretty, that element could get lost."

The Roots worked up several tracks from the jam tapes, rerecording the instrumental parts that became the apocalyptic "Guns Are Drawn" and a crafty bit of sample-mangling called "Boom." (Not all of the guests turn up on "The Tipping Point.") Then came something totally unexpected: Several of the producers who had popped into the sessions - or, in the case of L.A. producer and longtime Roots collaborator Scott Storch, were sent recordings of them - sent along songs propelled by that same performance energy.

Richard Nichols, the Roots' manager and guiding spirit, says that, for him, that was "The Tipping Point's" tipping point: "It was like the jam mentality continued after the sessions ... It seemed to infect everything." Well, not everything: Some tracks from the ultra-hot Neptunes didn't fit the vibe, Thompson says.

Trotter did some writing and recording away from the band, and by late January the set was finished. That's when the next challenge presented itself: Though its sound is a world away from the band's elaborately arty "Phrenology," and would seem an easier sell, "The Tipping Point" needed support within the executive suites at the Roots' new label, Geffen Records.

At one of the first playback sessions, Jimmy Iovine - head of Interscope Records, Geffen's parent - heard the shakedown song "Don't Say Nuthin'," with its indecipherable, mumbled refrain, and was blown away. Then he heard the rest of the album, and dedicated the label not just to selling the music, but to selling the Roots' whole renegade concept - something no previous executive had ever appreciated.

"It reminded me of the first time Interscope worked on U2," Iovine said recently. "There are things the Roots can do, that they're better at, than anybody else. To me, that means you can't just get a song across, you have to get the whole meaning of the band across."

Thompson and the others, who have heard the lofty pronouncements of industry bigwigs fade into the ether before, say that despite the album's title, they're not simply trying to tip into the mainstream. Having experienced the electricity of on-the-fly creativity, they're more committed than ever to defying expectations, Thompson says.

"I thought "Phrenology' was our rebel record, and also the so-called art record. But as we got into this one, I realized there's this other kind of rebellion the Roots are capable of: It's risky in a different way, because it's so blunt.

"It got easy for us to hide behind weirdness, but this time we're not doing that. We're coming straight at you. We don't want you to be too comfortable."


  

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tappenzee
Member since Sep 28th 2002
19839 posts
Fri Jul-23-04 07:32 PM

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26. "Somebody put up Malcolm Gladwell's review!"
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I didn't get to read it!

  

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finger
Member since Mar 05th 2004
1 posts
Sat Jul-24-04 05:58 PM

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27. "The Onion A.V. Club"
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http://www.theonionavclub.com/review.php?review_id=7646

"Hip-hop, it's not pop like Kylie Minogue," insists charismatic Roots leading man Black Thought on "Star," an audacious reinvention of Sly And The Family Stone's "Everybody Is A Star," and the first track on The Roots' new album, The Tipping Point. It's a nice sentiment, and it's designed to appeal to hip-hop's paradox-ridden obsession with credibility, but it rings false, especially in the midst of a song built on the framework of one of the poppiest, sunniest, and most mainstream moments of ornery soul genius Sly Stone.

The Roots' members have always had a love/hate relationship with pop. The Philly outfit's phenomenal last album, 2002's Phrenology, boasted a single ("Break You Off") so radio-friendly that D'Angelo refused to sing on it, lest he compromise his all-important credibility. At the same time, it featured an arty suite ("Water") seemingly designed to chase the teenyboppers away. "Star" repeats that dynamic in miniature, with the bang-up Stone cover giving way to jazzy, bohemian spoken-word rambling about "hypnotic donkey rhythms." Whether the group likes it or not, The Roots has developed sharp pop instincts over its long, distinguished career. In concert, it uses its album tracks as rough outlines for epic jams and dramatic transformations, but it wouldn't be such a titanic live force if its albums didn't provide such rock-solid structures.

The Tipping Point boasts an embarrassment of pop tracks even more infectious than its lead-off single, "Don't Say Nuthin'," whose sinister, futuristic synth lines swerve into the lane immediately alongside the Knight Rider theme. "Guns Are Drawn" contains urgent guitars, some incendiary political rhetoric, and what ?uestlove, in his witty and perceptive liner notes, describes as an intentionally "dirty" sound. Meanwhile, Black Thought's masterful flow exudes adult sexuality and cocky sweet swagger throughout, especially on "Somebody's Gotta Do It," where he's joined by ?uestlove favorite Jean Grae, Mac, and the otherworldly falsetto of Devin The Dude. On the aptly named "Stay Cool," Black Thought takes a lush, joyful Al Hirt groove for a three-and-a-half-minute joyride. By contrast, the album's least compelling and most orthodox songs reduce the group's complex musical alchemy to Black Thought's rhymes and insistent drums. The Tipping Point may not boost The Roots' Soundscan numbers to a point commensurate with the acclaim and respect it commands, but the set marks another triumph from a group that seems incapable of producing anything less. —Nathan Rabin

  

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malcskillz
Member since Aug 06th 2003
2 posts
Mon Jul-26-04 10:35 AM

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28. "RE: Consolidated Tipping Point Reviews Thread"
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Okay playas I've read the news writers' little Tipping Point reviews. Is it me or do these s.o.b's know nothing about rap? I personally think The Tipping Point is the hottest new thing out. Joe Schumck and Laura Plain listen to "experimental" music and call it good on the soul fact that it's experimental. Cross genre...ing isn't always good. But then again, someone who listens to hip hop soully to fill their article quota for the week, and criticize something they GENERALLY know nothing about, makes them instant experts. Jay-Z said it the best when he said, "How can you rate music that thugs with nothin' relate to it. I help them see their way through it, not you. Can step in my pants can't walk in my shoes. Bet everything you're worth you'll lose your tie and your shirt."

But then I read their reviews saying they've "retreated" to conventional rap and that "Somebody's Gotta Do It" and "I Don't Care" are dissappointing songs. Those are two of my favorite three songs. I do admit that those are basically rap songs in the core, but as far as I'm concerned, if an outrageous band can make a genre that is starting to become my biggest migrane, (I been listenin to rap/hip hop since I was 4 so back up off me)and make a song that not only got me to want to go out and buy another album (Chilltown New York) then they are doing something right. All they need to do now is get a fresh track with some Def Jam artists, Rawkus Artist, and of course Okayplayer artist and still keep their music original, why should it matter if they are experimental or not. Good music sells itself, not experimenting.

"Thats harsh what you said about my coat... It's made out of your mother's pubic hair." ~ Silky Johnson

"Hitler mother got one big titty, and one little titty, and they call the bitch Biggy Smalls." ~ Beautiful

  

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