Album Review: The Roots – How I Got Over

“How I Got Over” by The Roots

Don’t know why it took me so long to review this one. After all, I don’t think that a hip-hop album has ever been this highly anticipated by white people. I’m white, and anticipate album releases frequently. Somehow though, this one just kept getting put to the back burner. Guess it’s because I’ve always had respect for The Roots and have enjoyed their music over the years but never really been ‘excited’ by it. I feel like I always know what The Roots are gonna sound like. It’s gonna be high brow, slow to medium paced rap, with intelligent lyrics and jazz/soul inspired beats. Always pleasant but never groundbreaking. It’s the type of stuff that will give you serious street cred when you roll up to Whole Foods with it blaring out of your Volvo’s speakers.

Just in case you weren’t sure who the target demographic of this album was, The Roots even invited Joanna Newsome and ‘The Monsters Of Folk’ aboard for guest appearances. Moves like this, and joining the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon team might make you wonder if The Roots are ‘losing their edge’ or something. But really they are simply making themselves more visible to the same type of people that have always really enjoyed The Roots: the type of people that watch Jimmy Fallon. They are just very aware of their place in the hip-hop world.

“Dear God 2.0” is the track featuring “The Monsters of Folk”. The MoF vocals actually lend a nice eeriness to the track. Other than that, this song is one of those rap songs that just seems to list a million global/personal problems in the form of nonsensical sentences. It’s a pretty overused tactic in my opinion. Seems like every rapper that deems him or herself to be ‘intellectual’ does at least one of these songs. See “Beef” by Mos Def, “Get by” by Talib Kweli, any song by Immortal Technique etc. Thinkin’ that “Beef” is my favorite.

The title track, is the most upbeat song on the album and easily my favorite. If there were a couple more tracks like this or “The Seed 2.0” sprinkled on every album, maybe I would have a more passionate approval of the roots. But until that happens The Roots will continue to be perfectly enjoyable (aside from the Joanna Newsome appearance) if not the most entertaining music for me anyway.

How I got over – 3 out of 5


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