The Roots – Rising Down
Lyrics: B+ // Content: A // Production: B-
Creativity: B+ // Quality %: B- // Bonus: N/A
Release Date: May 13th, 2008
For lack of a more descriptive term, Rising Down is an angry album. Rising Down isn’t as outwardly political as the LP’s artwork might indicate but it does have something to say. In fact in order to really appreciate the albums social and political statements one has to really take it apart lyrically. As The Roots co-founder ?uestlove states, “This is probably our most political album to date dealing with addiction, nihilism, hypocritical double standards in the prison system and overall life in Philadelphia. I’d say it’s more mature and intense than all of our efforts but not a `downer’ as most people expect us to do.” At this point it is probably safe to say that The Roots are never going to “blow up” and be a major commercial act. However, unlike most Hip-hop artist or groups I think they are ok with that, since at some level they were always aware that “blowing up” might force a sacrifice of some of their artistic integrity. The backdrop to the album is the Hip-hop, super-band’s struggle at various record labels and business situations at companies either too lazy or confused to successfully market their sound.
For this LP The Roots find themselves inviting a surprising number of guest to rock with them, including Styles P., Most Def, Saigon, Peedi Peedi, Talib Kweli, and Common to name a few. For the most part these appearances are welcome and when you have a library as extensive as The Roots you can afford to do an LP or two with a heavy amount of guest appearances. These appearances shine on cuts like “Criminal”, “I Can’t Help It”, and “The Show”. The LP’s title track and “Get Busy” also deserve some extra attention. The one thing the LP seems to be missing is definitive lead tracks or cuts that completely distinguish themselves from others on the LP or define the album, but overall Rising Down is another solid effort from a group that almost never delivers anything that isn’t at least solid,
Overall: B :Review by Eyecalone