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The Roots
Game Theory

TheRoots1.jpgNow that they’re backed by Def Jam prez Jay-Z, the Roots should be feeling better than gettin’ head on a Sunday afternoon. With the major marketing dollars afforded by rap’s most respected record company at their disposal, the Philadelphia outfit is finally free to drop ambitious, thinking man’s hip-hop with no qualms. But judging from the glum Game Theory, the group’s seventh studio album, ?uestlove and crew are not exactly in a celebratory mood these days.

From poet Wadud Ahmad’s foreboding spoken-word chorus on “False Media” to the touching J Dilla memorial “Can’t Stop This,” this latest offering from the Roots is a dark ride that starts off agitated, then ends melancholy. Although both the dreamy “Atonement” and the reflective “Clock With No Hands” maintain the mellow vibe, they offer Black Thought a sonic platform to wax poetic. On the latter, he spits, “Sitting in the staircase holding back tears/ Looking over mad years of photographs/Pictures of some places I ain’t never going back.”

The Peedi Peedi-–guested “Longtime,” with its rigorous bass and ?uest’s crashing drums, stands as one of the LP’s most upbeat gems. But on the brilliantly sinister “All in the Music” clanging percussive slaps and a Knight Rider–-like guitar riff set an eerie stage for Thought and a resurrected Malik B. to trade rapid-fire lyrics about Philly’s rugged terrain (“I’m from the illest part of the Western Hemisphere/So if you into sightseeing, don’t visit there”).

On every one of their albums, the Roots have continued to evolve and experiment with their sound. With tracks ranging from high velocity boast fests (“Here I Come”) to spacey jams (“Living in a New World”), Game Theory is still a somber disc with a few bright spots. While Roots loyalists should be pleased with the end results, prospective new fans may be left wanting just a little bit more.—BRETT JOHNSON

  • http://lyrisuisjairusyahoo.com young chuck

    1st bitches!!!!!!!!!!this album is gonna be bangin

  • Tha Blueprint

    Cant wait for that Game Theory Album for the Legendary Roots Crew. This album is goin to be hot

  • thoreauly77

    so why is it that the tone of the review reflects an L, but it was given an XL? some suspect shit if you ask me, which you didnt. can anyone say def jam?

  • Tha muhfuckin Rapture

    Fuck all that. I got a copy of this shit. If you are a self-aware ADULT with real shit on ya mind, not all this goofy ass high school about who got how much paper, how gangsta a nigga is, or what have you, then this is YOUR album. Point blank. This shit is not for the light hearted, and I think that’s the problem the reviewer had. But, everything ain’t peaches an cream. Shit’s real. Cop it, if you ain’t scared.

  • jus

    seems like my type of album! i love grown up rap.

  • Mr. Elite

    R u tellin me that this shit sells more than my boy X? Ha, ha, ha, man theres a lot of squares publishin this shit!

  • H-man

    Its important 4 us 2 all get back 2 our Roots. Go cop Roots (game theory). Its smart 2 leave da fans wanting a little bit more…

  • illadelphi

    Music that goes beyond the surface. if shit ‘don’t feel right’ for you with the industry right now and you want some grown ass shit cop this Album.

    GAME THEORY IN STORES THIS MONTH.

    THE LEGENDARY ROOTS CREW IS BACK.

  • The King

    The Roots been putting the best music out for years. By far, I think this is one of the top albums. Go cop it. Recognize it.

  • m chip

    its sick how big this group is ,before there time, for this album to sell two million or more would be revalutionary just let it sink in an when it does its a trip

  • thegenuinearticle

    Game Theory is a hot album if your a diehard Roots fan. If your not a Roots fan you might not like this joint. But overall shit is hot.

  • Edqard

    I never listened to one Roots song before, but when I listened to this album, form the first song onwards I couldn’t press pause. I am instantly a fan, but it’s kinda odd cause they have so little tracks it certainly does want me wanting alot more.

  • Doctor Dribble

    G.a.m.e. .T.h.e.o.r.y has been around for more then 10 years-They are from jersey-Got more then 20 of there songs they been on that for years once again its a shame to see def jam 10 years to late–Very disappointed with there album–It seems they are in there final stages–

  • The Advocate

    This album is a masterpiece. Good music for the ears. Great lyrics and production. A nice pause from commercial music which is getting kind of old since everybody is doing it now.

  • AssassinFlow

    The Roots’ new album Game Theory is HOT. Definitely something that heads need right now, and DEFINITELY the type of albums Def Jam should be putting out. Props to the whole Roots crew and everyone supporting this album. Yeah its kinda bleak, but SHIT AINT ALL RIMS, BITCHES and MONEY ASSHOLES. HERE’S YOUR WAKE UP CALL.

  • Pingback: the waiting room » Blog Archive » The Roots - All in the Music/ Here I Come/ Don’t Feel Right

  • Thafunk?

    F**k that snap Sh**t this is the real hip hop, If u have payed for any of that wack sh**t including young dro and 95 % of the southern music gethef**kouttahere hahah

  • Uncle Murda

    ^^ why did u censored ur words lol

  • Taylor

    deserved xxl…but ok. Their most focused and potent work to date. Hip hop’s Dark Side of the Moon has finally arrived. Eat it up boys and girls!

  • http://myspace.com/deadlyair DownRiteDerelict

    XXL

  • dtm

    yo, you can like the roots and like other stuff too, right? relax ppl…and enjoy. this is a great album.

  • vic

    Hell of a CD! Not their best but a much better effort since The Tipping Point. This CD is very focused and the songs are masterfully arranged together. Black Thought is one of the best on the Mic and he displays his ability on the cd. The subject matter is much more mature and darker than their previous albums. The Highlight of the album to me is the J-Dilla tribute track “Can’t Stop This,” the beat is unreal, a classic JD production, and Black Thought kills it. I agree with the review because it is not perfect, but its still much better than all the bullshit that is out today.

  • Bigakathebeast

    yeah..i never listened to a single roots album till this one drop…only trcak i ever rememember from roots is that one with eryka bahdu fomr wayyyy back….i heard this album..and fell in love..give listeners alot to reflect on theirselves and their environment…in my own opinion..i think it deserved a XXL..roots..keep doing ya thing

  • http://www.gbaofficials.com sean dorsey

    I copped and thot it was on point blak thought is THE mc

  • G-UNOT FUCK BANKS

    This Is New Yorks Best Album Since Nas. Though This Deserves a XXL Rating Coz rite now this is In The Same Line As Tony Gayo’s Album. Come On XXL Mag Sort your shit out.

  • Cuban Link

    fuck u this is easily XXL its flawless instant Classic the best CD so far this year.

  • ChuDoc

    The Roots and Outkast are the only artists to have 5 CLASSIC albums but they stay getting bullshit reviews. XXL is a great magazine and decent site but the reviews are garbish, you guys are worse than the Source for your little bsckstage back handers, ”you scratch my back i’ll scratch yours” type shit. Its sickening. No wonder hip hop is dying.

    Cant Stop this = best track off the album

  • http://www.myspace.com/geniusdevelopments alexander

    Great album …. dark with touches of public enemy .

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