How I Got Over
The Roots are indeed a rare animal. They have served as bands for such big names as Jay-Z and Eminem, and are pretty much what sparked everybody’s interest to have a live band when playing shows. The bad news? It’s hard to say if they will ever truly NOT be the underdogs. Perhaps it is that very fact that keeps their fire burning. Maybe that is the very reason why they are as consistent and as good as they are. Consistency versus growth is a trap that so many groups and artists fall into: either they branch out but have major peaks and valleys or they are solidly consistent because each album feels the same. It’s incredible that ?uest, Thought and the rest of dem boys have successfully avoided this trap. While How I Got Over is cut from the same cloth as their last album, Rising Down , the fabric of it is unique to itself. It’s dark and tragic in places, but also enlightening and empowering. It’s short and sweet and demands to be played more than once.
The flangy, wavering, angelic intro gives way to “Walk Alone.” The sparse piano’s first note sounds a lot like that of “Dear God 2.0” but instead of Black Thought conversing with the almighty, you hear him, Truck North and Porn discussing what it’s like to be traveling the world’s pathways on their lonesome. From the subject matter (self-questioning/discovery, asking God about the world’s ills, growing up in dire straights) to the way everything feels, it’s a great album. Not to mention Black surprisingly putting a lot of “singers” to shame on the title track. The only real complaint to be had is that all of the guest features may leave listeners wishing there were more of Black instead. When Blu and Phonte lend their talents on various songs, it’s fantastic. STS, a new(?) face from illadelph, is also great as a guest. Other features are less smooth at times. While on the aforementioned “Walk Alone” Porn’s verse is good lyrically, there is a certain “50 Cent-ishness” in terms of how it’s delivered that is a little off-putting (again, a minor complaint). This is their newest effort, but chances are, it will also be one of your favorites. They ain’t called “legendary” for nothing.