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Rising Down (Bonus Track Version)

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Reseña de álbum

It would've been easy for the Roots to sell out. Already one of the few groups whose fans extend beyond the typical alternative rap base, tacking on the acoustic-guitary pop-rap song "Birthday Girl" — which leaked the month before Rising Down's release and features Patrick Stump crooning "What is it we want to do, now that I'm allowed to be alone with you?" — could've been a natural, and maybe even excusable move. Excusable as a way to show that the Roots can be lighthearted, fun, and tongue-in-cheek (though anyone who's heard any of their interviews or has frequented ?uestlove's blog already knows this to be true); not excusable, however, as the crossover track the label wanted it to be (and in fact, in Japan and Europe, as well as on iTunes, it remains as such). Fortunately, the Roots were smart and thoughtful enough — the very qualities of whose criticism led to the creation of "Birthday Girl" — to realize that its inclusion, even as an afterthought, a bonus track, was detrimental to the effect of the entire album, dumbing down their thoughts on poverty and race and politics with poppy melodies and creepy (albeit ironic) jokes about statutory rape and predatory old men.

Because as it stands, Rising Down acts as a powerful statement on contemporary society, a society in which even though the specific issues may have changed (global warming, BET, new technologies), the problems remain the same. For this reason the album begins and ends with a discussion from 1994, where Black Thought and ?uestlove are arguing about then-label Geffen with their managers, and other bits of the past are also spread throughout — the 1987 freestyle "@15," which complements "75 Bars (Black's Reconstruction)," the reflection found in "Unwritten" and especially in the cover itself, which nods to the crude caricatures from early America, the black devil wreaking havoc on the white pilgrims below. But it is these very reminders that make the Roots and their message in 2008 so much more relevant: they give context. So when Black Thought says "It is what it is, because of what it was/I did what I did 'cause it does what it does" in "Criminal," he's not just looking as his character's current situation, he's drawing from history, and his conclusions are based upon lifetimes of "it being it" and "doing what it does," of struggling and fighting and trying to get by, to make it however he can.

These same thoughts are echoed by the Roots' MC and the myriad talented guests who add their own equally hard-hitting verses to the album's tracks. "My life is on a flight that's going down/My mother had an abortion for the wrong child/...I felt love, that's gone now" Porn rhymes in the disquieting "I Can't Help It" (the other rappers on the song tackle ideas of chemical and monetary addictions), while on "Singing Man," the dark, reticent production gurgles with the pain and anger heard and stated more overtly in the three MCs' voices (Porn, Black Thought, and Truck North) as they present the sympathetic — but not condoning — perspectives of suicide bombers and campus shooters and child soldiers. It's dark and serious and intense, but Rising Down does offer hope, too, mostly in the form of the closing track, "Rising Up," which features Def Jam backing vocals queen Chrisette Michele, D.C. upstart Wale, and a Jay-Z-friendly beat. "We 'bout to dominate the world like Oprah did it," Black Thought says to end the song, an optimism that's far more powerful than anything "Birthday Girl" can provide. Those words, confident but not cocky, are the final punctuation — an ellipsis, though, leading to a yet-completed thought — on an album that's both revelatory and full of questions, an album that understands its place in the Roots' history and American history, and an album that continues to place the group as one of the country's most talented and relevant in any genre, no calculated crossover necessary. [Rising Down is also available in a clean version, with all profanity removed.]

Reseñas de clientes

The Roots-Rising Down

Having signed with Def Jam, releasing the excellent Game Theory, The Roots are back with Rising Down. Supposedly having used different instrumentation and more guest appearances, here is how The Roots faired. Rising Down: Precise drum pattern and a simple electronic guitar line flows throughout, paving the way for the emcees to tear it up. Mos Def blazes things first, handing it off to Black Thought who spits about global warming and Styles P spits a verse blasting the medical departments. Solid track that serves as more of a mood track than introduction. 4/5 Get Busy: Heavy synths bleed joined with drums and DJ scratches create the dark uptempo “Get Busy”. Peedi spits “fresh off ya step, I come at ya OG neck, used to the 1,2 check not the 1,2 step”, while burning through bars. 4/5 75 Bars (Black’s Reconstruction): A grumpy tuba growls, while ?uestlove continues the solid drum patterns. Black Thought goes solo on this, no hook, straight bars. This is what emceeing is all about, a lyrical bombardment by Thought that is lovely to listen to. 3.5/5 Criminal: Guitar laced track with strong percussion and a hook similar sounding to “Long Time” off of Game Theory. Thought delivers “I’d done robbed and odd jobbed and gambled enough, cause I’m put up in handcuffs and pissin in a cup, if there’s a God, I don’t know if he listenin or what”. Saigon & Truck North join with North spitting a rebellious verse, Saigon spits some blazing verses with “I’m like a senior citizen, still livin but getting benefits, put emphasis on hittin my nemesis, in high percentages, crooked a** cops are the reason for my belligerence…America polluted by lust”. 4.5/5 I Will Not Apologize: Over a repetitive and rhythmic beat, brass join in at the hook, as The Roots deliver a track on not apologizing for who you are. Basically being who you are, along the way addressing music industry issues and how these days it is hard to stay you. 3.5/5 I Can’t Help It: The dark, intensified “I Can’t Help It” has some eerie vocals on the hook, while robotic keyboards and synth make this a paranoia filled track. Malik B & Porn join Thought for a track about urges and giving into them or not. “My life is on a flight that’s going down, my mother had an abortion with the wrong child, with the time I felt loved, that’s gone now, its replaced by purple rays and storm clouds” spits Porn in a depressed and unloved state. 4.5/5 Singing Man: Truck North, Porn & Black Thought bring together a pain and angered track. Evident by the no love styled hook, Porn spits about the pain, Black Thought delivers a solid verse and Truck North brings some heat. The track is similar in sound to “I Can’t Help It”, intense and dark with paranoia and pain. Its dark, but shows clearly the state of mind and feeling. 4/5 Up There (Unwritten): Mercedes Martinez brings some soft light coating, as the production goes to eerie with Black spitting over. A short track, more like an interlude. 3.5/5 Lost Desire: Malik B, Talib Kweli & Black Thought deliver verses to this electric guitar jammer, as Kweli delivers a great verse. The hook is decent, as the trobbing production is likeable with each emcee delivering on all cylinders. 4/5 The Show: Common assists Thought, over cascading drums and synth. As the hook goes, “the show, the show, it must go on”, Black Thought does an excellent job on the lyrics “I’m at home and the pressure’s on, weakness is never shown, let alone I’m a man made of mere flesh and bone, I can’t help that my heartbeat is a metronome”, while Common’s performance is merely decent. A little disappointing with the Common feature. 3.5/5 Rising Up: This track is basically the lightest track on an album filled with dark, intense and heavy messaged tracks. Everything isn’t all bad here, Thought joins up and coming D.C. newcomer, Wale to bring hope and potential that hip hop can be revived and all the issues that are currently bad. Chrisette Michelle delivers a jazzy hook that talks about a child crying over the music coming out, while Wale claims “the good rappers ain’t eatin”, and Thought confidently claims “we gettin paper like John Travolta” and “we gonna dominate the world like how Oprah did it”. 4.5/5 Birthday Girl: The originally lead single of the album, Roots member, Black Thought felt that it didn’t jive with the album and therefore is seen here as a bonus track. Patrick Stump sings on the chorus with an easy going, poppy and catchy hook. His production, also provided by Stump is breezy guitar that has a summer vibe, as Black Thought spits about what parents deal with and their children. Nice single that is some fun pop by The Roots. 3.5/5 After the excellent Game Theory, The Roots come back with another strong album, that I wouldn’t say is better than Game Theory (that was a heck of an album), but quite close to it. Game Theory possessed a dark, yet emotional vibe throughout and Rising Down follows similarly. From the dark and intensified “I Can’t Help It” or “Singing Man” you can tell that they are back to the dark sounds, just with some different instrumentation. The excellent lead off track, “Rising Down” is strictly fire, Mos Def blazing his verse, Thought speaking on global warming and Styles P who finishes it, over electronic guitar. Peedi Peedi drops an excellent verse on “Get Busy”, Thought goes freestyle on “@15” and “75 Bars (Black’s Reconstruction)” is straight bars. “Criminal” features a solid Saigon verse, while “I Will Not Apologize” is a solid track about being who you are, “Lost Desire” features a strong Kweli verse and “The Show” was decent, a little disappointing with Common. “Rising Up” is the hope after all the dark and intense productions and messages of politics, that ends fittingly. Black Thought is in top shape dropping solid verses, as Rising Down is a good hip hop album, rarely found in the gangsta rap filled mainstream. Rating: 8.5 out of 10

The most consistent group in Hip Hop

Another top notch album from these legends. All true hip hop fans will love this.


Finally a true a Hip Hop album. The best album since Lupe. Can we finally realize that The Roots are one of the greatest Hip Hop Groups to put it down? Can Black Thought please be recognized as a top ten MC of all time?? This is a must have!!


Fecha de formación: Philadelphia, PA, 1987

Género: Hip-Hop/Rap

Años de actividad: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most prolific rap groups, the Roots were also among the most progressive acts in contemporary music, from their 1993 debut through their conceptual 2010s releases. Despite the seemingly archaic practice of functioning as a rap band with several instrumentalists — from 2007 onward, their lineup even featured a sousaphonist — they were ceaselessly creative, whether with their own material, or through their varied assortment of collaborations. They went platinum and gold with...
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