- Rep Power
The Roots - Long Time ft. Peedi Peedi ("FIRE")
Not great quality but the song still sounds amazing:
Game Theory album review from okayplayer board member JIHAD (thanks):
Where do we begin,friends?
Philadelphia's Legendary Roots Crew have recorded their strongest,smartest,most cohesive offering to date.
Their 7th album opens with spacey treated keyboards ("Dilltastic Vol. Won(derful")), a brief bit of a muted fanfare for the hell that will be raised, and the hell there is to pay from this band...for the state of the world,the state of America, the state of the 'hood', and of course the state of HIP HOP in this 21st century post-modern world.
Considering the first statement heard on the album questions, "Old Men sending young men to go and fight", the theory presented is well thought out.
In "False Media", Black Thought (and a narrarator who also appears later in the album) spell(s) out the matrix of deception and confusion (Corporate News Media/Globalism/Corporate Culture/Military Industrial Complex) that holds society hostage,over a punchy drum pattern (that reminds one of John McEntire era Stereolab), and a lush but minimal syncopated orchestration. This track sets the stage for Black Thoughts protagonist character throughout the album.
I look forward to copping the official album simply to put the puzzle pieces that are the music/musicians into the proper context. I don't think I would be exaggerating if I said this is the Roots most musical album to date.
In part 2 of this albums double barrel initial statement("Game Theory") 'Riq G'z takes us through Philly's darkside with an almost autobiographical slant, telling us of his rise from nothing to something as only Black Thought can. Again the music is sick. Riding on some fierce open hi-hat 4 on the Floor rock shit with a bubbling bass line and crazy hype keys, the Roots (musically and lyrically) aren't interested in you if you can't respond/react to their modus operandi. This is classic Black Thought...the dude from "Illadelph Halflife" all grown up. As if you weren't already jumping on your couch T.Cruise style you will be by the time Malik B. returns from wherever the hell he's been for the past couple of albums,bringing it all back home as if he'd never been gone. Seriously if you can't feel this track, you're crazy h8'n.
"Don't Feel Right" finds the band in '95 mode tighteningd up the track into some RZA-esque headnod shit. I didn't initially 'feel' this track, but in context with the album it's more tolerable. Continuing with scathing social commentary married to a sick flow. I know am imagining Black Thought's overall charachter on this album to be a cross between the television show "Good Times'" father figure 'James Evans',De La Souls' (Stakes Is High era) Dave in precise ("I'm sick of...bitches/niggas/blunts/versace,etc.") form, and a frustrated dope M.C. that's BEEN on major labels for well over 10yrs...but rarely gets major props in a world full of mediocre and sub mediocre loud mouths.
"In The Music" explores the questions "does art imitate life or does life imitate art?" from an urban perspective. Realizing that this question is the rosetta stone of "Game Theory" is the prize of paying attention to the lyrics. Musically this is brooding major chords with a reverbed snare that gives it almost an "industrial" vibe. Malik B. provides that "hood shit" that Black Thought is figuring in a chicken or egg scenario.
"Take It There" is one of my favorite tracks. Starting out a cappella and building with beatboxing, then guitar,bass,then drums. This joint feels like 1/2 time for the album. Our narrarator from "False Media" returns giving us a factual newsflash. Here Black Thought illustrates how the revolution jumps off for the individual when the individual is disenfranchised, positively and/or negatively.
"Baby" updates Sam Cooke's "Chain Gang" "oooh's and aaaahs". This is a laidback track with very cool backing vocals. This song sounds like single number 3 if this album has strong legs. It's about a girl.
"Here I Come" This song trips me out. I like it, but there are some funky micro korg scriggle scraggle that sounds kinda of like Gary Glitter's "Rock N Roll Pt.2" and some of that retro keyboard stuff on Prince's 3121. Yeah Black Thought is boasting here, but his flow is nice. Dice Raw comes nice with his verse and prophetically declares his "money long like Alonzo Mourning", definately a first for the new NBA champion. Next up is Malik B. coming with some of the illest shit I've heard since Beanie Siegel "an'nem'd" the world into liking him on T.F.A.. The track ends with ?uestlove's tribute to Radioheads "Airbag".
"Long Time" Damn, I love this song. Though the rhythm guitar sounds like it's playing the theme to "Fraggle Rock", and the guy singing the chorus sounds like a Filipino Rocker if ever I've heard one (complete with headband and flying V guitar). Fuck it, this track is dope. The drums are sick. I like how this configuration of the Roots plays up its musical strenghts and arranges around it's weaknesses. Again this is one of those "Black Thought is ILL" tracks. Peedi Peedi brings some snap crackle and pop to his guest verse. He's charismatic enough to pull it off and win. I don't know if this track is single material, but it'll definately rate amongst one of my favorite album tracks of '06. (dog, one of the guitar tracks and the bassline is on some straight up Rufus & Chaka Khan/Prince shit...who wrote that?)
"New World" Again...the guy singing the chorus (a different guy from the last song) sounds like a complete white guy tool (think Blink 182/Beck)
BUT AGAIN...IT WORKS. I LOVE THIS FUCKING SONG!!! These guys are on some shit...the bassline is chorded giving us an almost "Cure" feel, the drums almost a marching snare drum beat. This song is too short.
Black Thought gives us the rundown on surveilance in the Post 9-11 world, and a glimpse into the mechanics of a flawed justice system. Again this song is TOO SHORT!!!
"Clock With No Arms" the more somber sibling of "Don't Feel Right"; with it's skittering ride cymbal and compressed handclap builds on the "Complexity" formula with it's female sung chorus. Again Black Thought is killing this track. This is a dope song.
"Atonement" I won't give away the sample again...I'll let you stick your chocolate in that peanut butter. I hear a fucking accordian on this track...the drums are dope. I do believe that is Javey singing this chorus. This track is some laid back Astor Piazzolla shit. I forget what Black Thought is talking about hear.
"Can't Stop This" As much as I hate to say it this track, a tribute to the late great producer/m.c./super ear Jay Dee means well but is too long and rambly. The second half of this track gives us a second half similar to Water (via ?uestloves translation of Dilla-esque production) it contains voicemails from a bunch of folks saying goodbye. I must say guys...you should've just dropped that Black Thought over the "Donuts" "Workin' On It" demo that surfaced earlier in the year. A much more fitting tribute to your individual genius being paired together (a lá "Dynamite).
I give this album a 4.5 out of 5.
This IS the strongest Roots album (in my opinion) since Things Fall Apart.
It's nice to see Malik B. back to take some of the weight off of Thought.
It's nice to HEAR ?uests' drums in this context, they sound raw, kind of flat and lightly treated with a little of this and a little of that.
Leonard Hubbard & Kamal...You guys have stepped it up. You sound good here.
Capt. Kirk This dude is the Roots new secret weapon. I like your contribution here.
Knuckles Are you on this?
So there you have it...blow by blow
Now comes the hard part.
I'll be back in 58 days or so to measure up my findings against y'alls official OFFICIAL findings
It's been fun.
"most musical album to date!!!
Game Theory out August 29th
Last edited by Wzarecta; 07-01-2006 at 05:44 AM.