The Roots - Things Fall Apart [iTunes] (1999) Enough Jones Telefon
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The Roots - Things Fall Apart [iTunes] (1999): A Classic Album Review
The Roots are a legendary hip-hop group from Philadelphia, known for their live instrumentation, socially conscious lyrics and eclectic musical influences. In 1999, they released their fourth studio album, Things Fall Apart, which is widely regarded as their masterpiece and one of the best albums of the decade.
Things Fall Apart is a diverse and ambitious album that showcases the group's artistic growth and versatility. The album features guest appearances from some of the most respected names in hip-hop and soul, such as Mos Def, Common, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Eve and Beanie Sigel. The production is handled by Questlove, the group's drummer and leader, along with Scott Storch, J Dilla, James Poyser and others. The album blends elements of jazz, funk, soul, rock and electronica with hard-hitting beats and sharp rhymes.
The album's title is inspired by the novel of the same name by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, which depicts the clash between traditional African culture and colonialism. The Roots use this theme as a metaphor for the state of hip-hop and black culture in America at the end of the 20th century. The album explores topics such as racism, violence, love, identity, history and spirituality with honesty and intelligence.
The album opens with a skit that samples dialogue from Spike Lee's film Mo' Better Blues, in which Denzel Washington's character argues with his bandmates about the importance of artistic integrity and innovation. This sets the tone for the album, which challenges the mainstream trends and expectations of hip-hop at the time. The album also features several interludes that sample speeches from activists such as Malcolm X and Mumia Abu-Jamal, as well as excerpts from Amiri Baraka's play Dutchman.
The album's first single, \"You Got Me\", is a soulful duet between Black Thought, the group's main MC, and Erykah Badu, with a rap verse from Eve. The song won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 2000. The song is about a long-distance relationship that is tested by temptation and insecurity. The song also features a drum 'n' bass outro that showcases Questlove's skills on the drums.
The album's second single, \"The Next Movement\", is a funky and upbeat track that features DJ Jazzy Jeff on the turntables and Jazzyfatnastees on the chorus. The song is a celebration of the group's longevity and success in the music industry. The song also has a memorable video that parodies various clichÃs of hip-hop videos at the time.
The album's third single, \"What They Do\", is a smooth and laid-back track that features Raphael Saadiq on the chorus. The song is a critique of the materialism and superficiality of some hip-hop artists and fans. The song also has a hilarious video that mocks various stereotypes of hip-hop videos at the time.
Other highlights on the album include \"Double Trouble\", a collaboration with Mos Def that showcases their lyrical prowess and chemistry; \"Act Too (The Love of My Life)\", a tribute to hip-hop as an art form and a culture that features Common; \"Dynamite!\", a hard-hitting track produced by J Dilla that features Black Thought's rapid-fire flow; \"Without a Doubt\", a homage to Philly rap pioneer Schoolly D that features Lady B; \"Adrenaline!\", a high-energy track that features Dice Raw and Beanie Sigel; and \"You Got Me (Live)\", a bonus track that features Jill Scott singing the chorus instead of Erykah Badu.
Things Fall Apart is a landmark album in hip-hop history that cemented The Roots' reputation as one of the most innovative and influential groups of all time. The album is a testament to their musical vision, creativity and skill. The album is also a reflection of their social awareness, cultural pride and artistic integrity. Things Fall Apart is an album that deserves to be heard by anyone who loves music. aa16f39245