11 Songs, 33 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

For all the fun they have as the house band for The Tonight Show, The Roots get down to business when they enter the studio. Billed as a concept album, ATYSYC features rappers Black Thought, Dice Raw, and Greg Porn relating vignettes about income inequality and spiritual bankruptcy within the African-American community. Brooding amid layers of soul breaks and the kind of erudite samples that fans have come to expect from music encyclopedia ?uestlove ("Black Rock" borrows funk chestnut "Yeah Yeah"), the album is more meditation than celebration. With its mournful piano and slumping beat, "When the People Cheer" is a representative sample: "Everybody asks if God is all that/But I got a feeling he ain't never coming back," sings a children's choir on the hook. Longtime fans will be familiar with this somber side of The Roots, while newcomers used to them as Jimmy Fallon's sidekicks will discover a whole different side of this legendary hip-hop troupe.

EDITORS’ NOTES

For all the fun they have as the house band for The Tonight Show, The Roots get down to business when they enter the studio. Billed as a concept album, ATYSYC features rappers Black Thought, Dice Raw, and Greg Porn relating vignettes about income inequality and spiritual bankruptcy within the African-American community. Brooding amid layers of soul breaks and the kind of erudite samples that fans have come to expect from music encyclopedia ?uestlove ("Black Rock" borrows funk chestnut "Yeah Yeah"), the album is more meditation than celebration. With its mournful piano and slumping beat, "When the People Cheer" is a representative sample: "Everybody asks if God is all that/But I got a feeling he ain't never coming back," sings a children's choir on the hook. Longtime fans will be familiar with this somber side of The Roots, while newcomers used to them as Jimmy Fallon's sidekicks will discover a whole different side of this legendary hip-hop troupe.

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