Undisputedly the premier live hip-hop band in the world, much of the Roots' well-deserved reputation has been earned on stages around the globeâbut in the studio they have been less consistent. On the heels of their seventh album, Phrenology (2002)âwhich included the breakout crossover hit duet with Cody ChestnuTT âThe Seed (2.0)ââtheir last album, The Tipping Point, failed to excite fans or garner the critical acclaim of earlier works. Their move this year from Geffen/Universal to DefJam/Island seemed to hold promise for a rebirth.
The result, their new release and impressive ninth studio album, Game Theory, is dark and soulful, but also an understated album that's easy to miss. Thereâs nothing flashy. No obvious hit singles or party songs. But below the surface is a maturity of depth, and a cohesive beautifully brooding vibe that reveals more with each listen. And without being didactic, it expresses an exasperation with the current political moment. A pared down, bluesy, rock lament with hip-hop trappings, Game Theory is also presented as a eulogy for the recently deceased Amazon.
by DJ Scribe