The Roots return with The Tipping Point
, the follow-up to last year's brilliant Phrenology
, and it's a taut, funky and highly polished record full of great new tracks. The first single "Don't Say Nuthin'" is a classic slice of minimal hip-hop that showcases Black Thought's tremendous lyrical skill and features long-time Dr Dre collaborator Scott Storch. This album sees the Roots returning to what they do best; real hip-hop made by the finest rappers and players in the business.
On The Tipping Point
, their sixth album, the Roots backslide a bit on the creative promise they showed with 2002's Phrenology
. Instead of expanding into more ambitious and experimental areas--the way Outkast has, for example, the Roots tend to fall back to basics with vigorous, but ultimately conventional, lyricism. There are definitely some great moments here: the album opens with near-magic on "Star", a mesmerising song that is one of the finest of the group's career, and Black Thought is a one-man tour de force on "Boom!" where he mimics Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap down to their velour sweats. But The Tipping Point
also has some of their blandest production ever, and, at 11 songs (plus two bonus tracks), the compactness of the album amplifies the problems. "I Don't Care" and "Duck Down!" in particular seem derivative and commercially tailored. The main thing missing here is an overall guiding concept, something the Roots have never lacked before. --Oliver Wang, Amazon.com