by Rachel Chesbrough

The Roots have accomplished what few (if any) other groups have over their tenure on the music scene. They have successfully blended authentic hip hop with countless outside genres, crossed cultural barriers with ease, and maintained an unarguably impressive level of quality while doing so. I mean damn, they’re even the house-band for a late night talk show. They do just about everything but conform. Their much anticipated latest album “How I Got Over” not only won’t disappoint, it will, I swear, exceed your already high expectations. The album is seamless. There are no song breaks, only a constant flow of one or many instruments, and you probably won’t even notice the skip from one track to the next. It’s a musical stream of consciousness. They leave behind the more hard-hitting beats and frenzied rhymes of their last album in favor of a jazz, funk, and soul-infused flava and mellow verbal flow. Black Thought’s lyricism and wordplay is impressive at worst, epic at best. The content is still rooted in urban struggle and elevated consciousness, but it has an optimism that their recent work was lacking. He’s still one of the most underrated emcees in the game. Period. The band is at their best, headed, as always, by the unstoppable ?uestlove. At times the raps will take a back seat to the fullness of the instrumentals, and then the band will tone it down to support the lyricism. It’s a flawless harmony. 5 points, 5 mics, 5 blunts, I BOSS IT!, HIGO gets all of it. This is the album of the year, EASY. It’s how hip hop was meant to evolve.

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