On June 22, 2010, the American hip hop/neo soul group The Roots released their ninth studio album, How I Got Over, on Def Jam Recordings. The album has been in the works since 2008, and incorporates elements of soul, jazz, gospel, and even indie rock, impressively blended together for a praiseworthy sound. The seven-member band, that includes Black Thought, Questlove, Kamal Gray, F. Knuckles, Captain Kirk Douglas, Damon “Tuba Gooding Jr.” Bryson, and Owen Biddle, originated in 1987 in Philadelphia, PA and has collected countless nominations and awards from The Grammys to the NAACP Image Awards.
The band currently resides as the house band on the Jimmy Fallon Show. How I Got Over has been widely accepted in the critics’ circle, so check out for yourself what people are saying about The Roots’ latest album:
- Entertainment Weekly: “Has working for Jimmy Fallon dulled the Roots’ edge? Not a bit. The venerable hip-hop band’s first effort since joining NBC’s late-night lineup delivers all the funk/soul/jazz vibes fans have come to expect. Plus it features their most successful forays yet into the world of indie rock — not least the plaintive Monsters of Folk collab ”Dear God 2.0.” –Simon Vozick Levinson
- URB: “While How I Got Over is cut from the same cloth as their last album, Rising Down , the fabric of it is unique to itself. It’s dark and tragic in places, but also enlightening and empowering. It’s short and sweet and demands to be played more than once.” –James Shahan
- Bama Loves Soul: “I won’t go as far as call the album a complete classic it does have a couple of skip-able tracks. ‘Right On,’ is a decent but strange song that doesn’t seem to fit in context of the preceding material, featuring a Celtic sounding hook from Joanna Newsom and STS channeling MC Chris don’t do it any favors. The same goes ‘Web 20/20′ a battle rap sounding track that undermines the collaborative cohesion of ‘Now or Never’ and ‘The Day’, Truck North, Peedi Peedi, and Black Thought attack the beat like young hungry MC’s. It’s a dope effort but in context of the theme the album set up it doesn’t seem to fit.” — Jay Tee Dee
- The Adamo Opinion: “In fact, when I bought myself a copy there was a sticker on the side that said something like “Four stars. Brilliant new music!” I didn’t think I was going to agree with that statement, but I certainly did. Likewise, I also agree with the folks who are claiming that this album sounds like one long continuous song. Perhaps this is why Questlove has sequenced the album as such, to give it that real consistency.” –Adam
- Treble: “As with The Roots previous few albums, How I Got Over presents a fairly amusing paradox. There’s an serious-minded tone to Black Thought’s verses, even when he kills it with wordplay like “got immunized for both flus, I’m still sick.” And yet, The Roots can lay down a groove like no other, offering a bit more of a hedonistic contrast to otherwise sobering truths and with a more eclectic palate than ever. Perhaps it’s not always a celebration, but How I Got Over is nonetheless an unforgettable party.” –Jeff Terich
- Pinpoint Music: “So yes, it wasn’t love at first sight. But it wasn’t hate at first sight, or even indifference at first sight either. Like I said, it’s impossible for The Roots to make a bad album. How I Got Over was good, not great. It was all there, the drums hit hard, Black Thought’s passion emanated, the featured artists made me double check my iTunes and the melodies were uniquely The Roots. I just couldn’t help but think and feel this wasn’t the best of The Roots.”–Rowe
Most of the reviews I read focused on the transition that The Roots made between their previous albums and How I Got Over. With this release, the band focuses their sound into a darker, more melancholy effect that adds a serious tone to their collection. There is no doubt that the band has accomplished a polished and impressive ninth album release.