"the review im proud of the most" Thu Sep-14-06 01:31 AM by qoolquest
back in 99 the whole idea of awarding an album a "@" was new to me. and the very first review of the TFA was hip hop site's @@@@@ review. it set a high proud standard for me. so im happy to say that 9 records into my career im still happy to get this rating, cause on the real most cats make the most exciting shit of their career early on and then its off to ichiban. and since most of the new blog city journalists seem to be judging based on how they think we will sell....its good to read a review truly based on and from a classic hip hop perspective.
organix-93 (from the ground up)-94 do you want more?!!???!-95 illadelph halflife-96 things fall apart-99 (the legendary)-99 the roots come alive-99 phrenology-2002 the tipping point-2004 (the roots present...) 2004 homegrown: the beginne
5. "enjoy it while it lasts" In response to Reply # 0
>its good to read a review truly based on and from a classic hip hop perspective.
'cause i can guarantee you that the mainstream rock press has a SERIOUS vendetta against you and every other middle-ground group (i.e., LB, com, talib, etc.).
i used to think it was that they hated ish that doesn't sell, but on the contrary, these are the same mofos who will big up mr. lif and the coup (along with jeezy and t.i.).
what it truly is is that they hate nigras--for lack of better wording--that ain't fullfilling a certain stereotype (e.g., coons and/or saints).
which is why i love game theory; its sheer musicality and anal-ass attention to detail raises their rockist red flags, but 'riq being 'riq is still a little too threatening to them. (he ain't jig dancing?--OMG, what does he have to offer??)
so you're gonna get some dissapointing-ass reviews in the end, which champion your "growth" and musical inventiveness, but totally shit on 'riq as an MC.
i'm sayin', get used to it, 'cause these mofos ain't gonna change; this rap shit is truly the new minstrel show.
sheeit, i'm thinking that if rakim (who thought is, for all intents and purposes, the modern-day version of) came out today, he'd get dismissed as "boring" and "pretentious," you know, the same shit y'all get accused of.
100 Stylus Magazine With Game Theory, the Roots have finally delivered on nearly every once-broken promise. Read Full Review
91 Entertainment Weekly It's all ghetto vérité and political paranoia, with claustrophobic production to match the doom and gloom. Read Full Review
91 The Onion (A.V. Club) Especially in its superior second half, the album resonates with casual ambition as it reconciles ?uestlove's effortless bohemian cool and sonic perfectionism with Black Thought's dark swagger, street-level sociology, and silver-tongued virtuosity. Read Full Review
90 Dot Music This is not merely a good album, but a truly great one. Read Full Review
90 All Music Guide Game Theory is a heavy album, the Roots' sharpest work. It's destined to become one of Def Jam's proudest, if not most popular, moments. Read Full Review
90 RapReviews.com There are plenty of unexpected surprises to be found. Read Full Review
90 Tiny Mix Tapes It is an excellent album that has taken them seven long years to finally get to, but those are seven years that have been evidently well spent: After years of mediocrity and being, to some degree, marginalized -- just when the world needed them -- The Roots are back like never before. Read Full Review
80 NOW Magazine If anything, the grooves have gotten tougher and funkier on Game Theory. Read Full Review
80 PopMatters The Roots’ darkest, grimiest, most unrelenting and possibly most focused effort to date. Read Full Review
80 Blender Whatever style the Roots take on their eighth album, whether it’s 21st century Sly Stone ("Baby"), flute-inflected freak-folk ("Living in a New World") or epic black rock ("Game Theory"), they do better than anyone else in pop. Read Full Review
80 The Guardian This taut, turbulent piece of work is the Roots' best yet. Read Full Review
80 Vibe Like prior Roots albums, Game Theory boasts top-notch craftsmanship... but it's continuity that makes this album unique.
80 Spin Game Theory is the Roots at their heaviest.
77 Pitchfork A streamlined product that die-hards can justly revel in. Read Full Review
76 ShakingThrough.net A few throwaways... keep Theory from attaining the rarified heights of earlier efforts. But in the final count, it’s just nice to hear this criminally underappreciated outfit sounding so sharp and revitalized. Read Full Review
75 Los Angeles Times "Game Theory" helps rescue a remarkably anemic hip-hop summer.
75 E! Online downcast disc is actually an improvement on its predecessor. Read Full Review
71 cokemachineglow Game Theory’s highs never quite reach those of Do You Want More?!!!??! or Illadeph Halflife (1996), and those albums, even with those highs, are still inconsistent affairs. Which means that the Roots are back on track, but the track itself was never something we praised wholeheartedly in the first place. Read Full Review
70 Rolling Stone For every head-nodding beat, Game Theory has a head-turning treat.
70 Urb The Roots' energy is claustrophobic and thus, jaded. It still has a prominent place on Game Theory, but when it's not subdued, it's downright bitter.
70 Village Voice They've resurfaced sounding dark, mysterious, and pissed off. Read Full Review
60 The New York Times Black Thought... sounds more focused than he did on the Roots’ last album, “The Tipping Point,” and more engaged than on the one before it, “Phrenology.” But because he’s not the kind of rapper to modulate his emotional pitch, his intensity can level off into monotony.
Even running the risk of reiterating the same sentiments as recent relevant reviews, one has to concede that The Roots‘ latest longplayer Game Theory is a rare accomplishment. At least as far as hip hop is concerned. Not that people were doubting the band’s general capacity to produce interesting music but due to internal turmoil (the band’s changing line-ups) and external pressures (there’s no place like home – unless it’s Geffen Records) as well as a disease that Roots drummer and bandleader ?uestlove describes as “overthinking”, Game Theory’s two predecessors lacked focus and hence cohesiveness.
Fortunately, the new record abandons bad habits without sacrificing the band’s characteristic playfulness. Unlike previous endeavors Phrenology and The Tipping Point however, it never feels forced or self-indulgent but works within the context of the album. Game Theory achieves its persuasiveness by injecting songs with a concurrent spirit that insinuates desolation and despair. Even reckless uptempo tracks like In The Music with its Knight Rider Theme-turned-sinister synths or the frantic Here I Come which is propelled by abrasive drums provide for a menacing atmosphere.
Lyrically, Black Thought is channeling the madness of the Bush era. On the otherwise bland opener False Media he impersonates the commander-in-chief with poignant lines: Aim fire/holler ‘bout a dollar/nothing is sacred/we gone pimp the shit out of nature/send our troops/to get my paper. Further observations of an Orson Welles-imagined future are augmented with personal reflections about growing up poor in the hostile environment of South Philly. When he tucks the Superman MC cape away to become Tariq Trent it is both an act of growth and fear of being pigeonholed as a one-dimensional, personality lacking, crowd-rocking breath control phenomenon. Still, the transformation, is never entirely convincing. Riq G’s sounds best rhyming for the sake of rhyming when he is flanked by frequent collaborator Dice Raw or his former partner-in-rhyme Malik B., who makes a frenetic return on three tracks. Despite all of his technical precision and craftiness, Black Thought remains the ultimate workman MC. A well-respected yet unheralded hero, a hard-laboring rhyming expert who has his natural place right next to the lofty poet. Knowing this place is the key to persistency.
Certainly, The Roots didn’t reinvent the wheel with Game Theory, not even in their own universe. One could easily find finer selections of likewise themed and executed cuts in their back catalogue, now encompassing nine albums. Ironically, Baby is The Seed’s smaller sibling and since a lot of the album’s lyrics were inspired by the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina, the final track – a manifesto directed at one of their fallen brethren – pulls like the undertow to Phrenology’s centerpiece. As we all know, when the levee’s broke you Can’t Stop This/Water. What is laudable about Game Theory is its streamlining of ideas to create a theme-oriented album. As business has trumped art, the raison d’etre for this kind of musical experience has slowly diminished. Now – in spite of their reputation as one of hip hop’s cultural countercurrents – one must hope that with The Roots at the genre’s most legendary label, they will serve as trend-setters for once.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - self-preservation is the first law of nature.
***still rocking to mc safety & the caution crew***
23. "RE: the review im proud of the most" In response to Reply # 0
>back in 99 the whole idea of awarding an album a "@" was new >to me. and the very first review of the TFA was hip hop site's >@@@@@ review. it set a high proud standard for me. so im happy >to say that 9 records into my career im still happy to get >this rating, cause on the real most cats make the most >exciting shit of their career early on and then its off to >ichiban. >and since most of the new blog city journalists seem to be >judging based on how they think we will sell....its good to >read a review truly based on and from a classic hip hop >perspective. > >http://www.hiphopsite.com/SEARCH/?ITEM=A13BFDB8-569F-4D94-9264-17F32BD7C37E#review
Game Theory is the best album I've heard in a looong time, prolly since De La's Grind Date joint. Ya'll stay coming with creative/innovative and thought provoking work. Keep up the good work!!!
24. "RE: the review im proud of the most" In response to Reply # 0
The Roots...you all deserve the highest praise; all accolades are well deserved! Game Theory is your masterpiece.
Having been on the hip-hop scene since 1980, the thing that troubles me the most in the evolution of the "genre" is the corporate manipulation: stealing the rich flavor of the music, message and artistry, & churning out a stereotype that perpetuates racism. Whether the image produced is ganster-thug, minstrel show or booty-ho that is sold to the masses, it's an enormous insult to the intelligence,humanity and variety of black experience and expression.
It is so refreshing to have an album like "Game Theory" revive the Def Jam label and receive the benefit of great marketing without compromising the artistic vision. I whole-heartedly agree with the review...GT has it all: exquisite sound, intelligent words, on-point message, seriousness, humor (how do so many reviews miss this, ie: Baby & Livin' In A New World?!!) and that rarity that is the total point of view. How rare it is to have an album (pardon my ancient-ness) that flows from start-to-finish as a total package, yet all individual parts stand on their own!
I've loved all your work since Organix, but GT is truly your mature vision: on-point and modern, yet timeless. Kudos to The Roots, and kudos to Jay-Z & Def Jam!
side note: you capture the sound & soul of Philly perfectly. I grew up in the region in the 1960-70's, and the sound is so hard to put into words... much love, elisa
27. "RE: the review im proud of the most" In response to Reply # 0
Fuck The New York Times for real - Black Thought's delivery is unmatched. I'm from Pittsburgh, I was at the Club Elixir spot you was DJin at (sorry for the bad looks that place is kinda small) - I got a show at CMU's radio station for the public called "The Good Word" - if you come thru this side of the state its a good venue to promote any clubs or spots you might be supportin, its like the only REAL hip-hop show on the radio here (and its all volunteer I do it for the love of the art ya know) ... anyways, Ive lived everywhere from Harrisburg, West Chester, Millersville, Pittsburgh, Erie and beyond - so I seen you guys live like 20 times and I look forward to hearing the new joints live soon - do the damn thing, 1.
"Either I'm one of the strongest people left ... or y'all should stone me for even trying to steal breath" - Brother Ali