Wild Style Wednesday Review: The Roots, Things Fall Apart
The Roots will forever be one of my favorite groups in Hip-Hop because I love their utilization of a live band and their natural sound. Not to mention that Black Thought is also one of my top five emcees, the guy is pretty much a god emcee on the microphone. I like every single album in The Roots catalog, but Things Fall Apart is the album that introduced me to them. I look at this album that came out ten years ago and part of me still feels like even now this album would still be ahead of its time. This album, to this day, is one of the most sound albums I have ever heard and there is no doubt that it will forever be considered a classic. Even though this album didn’t make my top 10 most influential albums, I would still say it ranks among my top 10-20 favorite albums without a doubt.
The first track that really gets me going on this album is “The Next Movement” which features impeccable cuts by DJ Jazzy Jeff and a jazzy-ass-keyboard-influenced beat. Black Thought gives you a sample of the rhymes he’s working with, “I plug in the mic, draw like a gunfight/I never use a cordless, or stand applaudless/sippin’ chlorophyll out of ill silver gauntlet/I’m like a faucet, monopoly’s the object”. In the track “Step Into The Realm” Black Thought leaves the microphone brutally decimated, “Buildin’ this, Fifth foundation in the wilderness/thought-less, trespass and enter Thought’s fortress/limitless entrance, paid, to the order of the
cypher slaughterer/my mic slappin’ you senseless”. Jay Dee adds his Ummah Era funk to the track “Dynamite!” and Black Thought rides the track like a motorcycle. Black Thought brings along this always witty Dice Raw and the straight gutter Beanie Sigel on the track “Adrenaline!” for an impressive showing. On one of the sure highlights of the album, Mos Def & Black Thought team up like Batman & Robin and give you a dose of some ridiculously raw lyricism. Black Thought delivers deadly bars, “Well it’s like smack the track up and leave dents in it/the vocalist, bustin’ this blunt, instrument spit/the magnificent, rapper’s run from it/all fly girls, nipples and toes, numb from it”, and Mos follows suit “Aiyyo I stop fools and drop jewels but never run it/rock mics so nice I make you stock price plummet/all you high noon riders better rally at the summit/it’s me and Tariq and your fleet outnumbered…”.
My favorite track on this album is surely “Act Too (Love of My Life)” with Common. Throughout the track Black Though & Common let the lady (Hip-Hop) in their life know how much she means to them. The beat on this track is beautiful and everytime I hear it I am instantly put into a good mood. This track is a great example of incredible lyricism and great storytelling skills displayed by both emcees. “Act Too (Love of My Life)” is one of my favorite tracks of all-time without question.
Things Fall Apart is an album that most Hip-Hop groups wish they could drop. It is without a doubt my favorite album in The Roots catalog. Everything on Things just meshes perfectly. From the mellow and jazzy instrumentals, to Black Thought’s upper echelon emceeing, Things Fall Apart has everything that a great Hip-Hop album should have. No Hip-Hop fan should ever live without this album.
10 Okayplayers out of 10