The Roots

Rising Down

Rising Down not only continues The Roots’ high-quality standards, but with it, they are declaring war with the music industry-driven notions of rap music, hip-hop culture and, perhaps the most misrepresented, the African-American experience. Rising Down is an expression of the frustrations that come from being the product of desolate surroundings. The album’s 15 tracks feature guest artists Dice Raw (a Roots staple), Truck North, Saigon and Porn. These lesser-known emcees provide the “ground-zero” emotions while Black Thought, Malik B, Talib Kweli and Mos Def vocalize their similar, more matured experiences. With all of the guest appearances, Rising Down is a big step away from Game Theory, which showcased Black Thought’s rhymes almost exclusively. But, an adolescent Thought shines on Rising Down’s “@ 15” (recorded when he was 15). Musically, the album is more electric than previous Roots efforts, but the sound is dark, driving, aggressive, demonstrative even. Poet Gil Scott-Herron had a song that stated that the revolution will not be televised, but The Roots have drawn the first line in the sand proving that it will, indeed, be heard.