Friday, July 16, 2004

If It Was J-Kwon, Would It Be Called The Tipsy Point?

I recently picked up a copy of the new album from The Roots called The Tipping Point. This is the follow-up to Phrenology, which they released back in 2002. Just as how Phrenology was decidedly different from Things Fall Apart, The Tipping Point is definitely different from Phrenology. In fact, the albums are very much opposites. Phrenology was about 70 minutes long. The Tipping Point comes in at nearly 56 minutes.

Both albums do have guest appearances. Phrenology had appearances from Musiq, Cody ChestnuTT, Nelly Furtado, and Jill Scott. The Tipping Point features appearances by underground rappers Jean Grae and Mac along with appearances by Dave Chappelle and Dirt McGirt on the first bonus track. Phrenology had The Roots taking chances and experimenting. They parodied punk rock (“!!!!!!!”), turned the first single into a seven minute-long jam (“Break You Off”) and addressed Malik’s drug problem with an opus in two parts (“Water”). The Tipping Point has The Roots celebrating old-school hip-hop. They sample classic songs for songs like “Star” and “Stay Cool.” Black Thought proves his MC prowess on the back-to-back songs of “Web” and “Boom!” “Web” has Black Thought rhyming nonstop with no chorus or hook. “Boom” has him rapping as himself and doing dead-on impersonations of classic rappers (like Big Daddy Kane on the second verse).

The Tipping Point is a fun, fast, and solid album from The Roots. It’s not better than Things Fall Apart (my personal favorite album from The Roots that I’ve heard), but it’ll shut up those who felt they strayed too far with Phrenology. As always, each time I hear something new from The Roots, I want to hear more. Reading ?uestlove’s essays in the liner notes (present in every single release I have), I found out that they did two songs with The Neptunes which aren’t on this album. I can’t wait to hear their collaboration.

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