Album: The Roots

The Tipping Point, GEFFEN

Named after the New Yorker journalist Malcolm Gladwell's best-selling examination of social and conceptual epidemics, The Tipping Point is used by The Roots to indicate the critical mass they hope to achieve with this seventh album. Musically, it's something of a return to their original methods, tracks being developed in diverse directions from initial jam sessions: the slippery shuffle-beat funk of "I Don't Care", the twitchy electro groove of "Don't Say Nuthin", the fusion horns and keys of "Stay Cool", and at their most basic, the stripped-bare drums and single-note bass skeleton of "Break Beat". As before, samples are kept to a minimum, the only notable one being the theme to Sly Stone's "Everybody Is a Star" that underscores "Star", Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter's sage critique of criminal culture. "A grown ass man, I done paid my dues," he advises young wannabe gangstas. It's the opening salvo of a formidable broadside from the self-styled "raw sojourner for truth", aimed equally

Named after the New Yorker journalist Malcolm Gladwell's best-selling examination of social and conceptual epidemics, The Tipping Point is used by The Roots to indicate the critical mass they hope to achieve with this seventh album. Musically, it's something of a return to their original methods, tracks being developed in diverse directions from initial jam sessions: the slippery shuffle-beat funk of "I Don't Care", the twitchy electro groove of "Don't Say Nuthin", the fusion horns and keys of "Stay Cool", and at their most basic, the stripped-bare drums and single-note bass skeleton of "Break Beat". As before, samples are kept to a minimum, the only notable one being the theme to Sly Stone's "Everybody Is a Star" that underscores "Star", Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter's sage critique of criminal culture. "A grown ass man, I done paid my dues," he advises young wannabe gangstas. It's the opening salvo of a formidable broadside from the self-styled "raw sojourner for truth", aimed equally at "fake niggas" and more high-profile political transgressors. The 16-minute epic "Why (What's Goin' On)" is an articulate three-part analysis of contemporary ills that ranges from the plight of Nike sweatshop workers to the Bush's Saudi connections. A furiously forthright, intelligent rap album.

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