Balancing upon "The Tipping Point," The Roots return with yet another quality release. Clocking in at a relatively small length, the crew are still able to provide material worth forking over your cash for. From the intoxicating lead single "Don't Say Nuthin," fans were enthused to hear more. Even with several delays, the single remained as strong bait.
We're brought in with the extremely smooth "Star" which manages to set a musically concise tone which remains consistent throughout. "The Tipping Point" doesn't seem to have a precise subject matter, but does manage to do justice within all the tracks featured. "Guns Are Drawn" contains a loosely flavoured reggae hook behind a slightly distorted Black Thought performance. "The Web," reminiscent of the unreleased "Thought At Work" features Black Thought confident and extremely enthusiastic over a pretty simple, fast paced beat.
But it's "Somebody's Gotta Do It" and "Why" that set "The Tipping Point" apart from most material in Hip Hop today. The music feels more well rounded than most of what the genre offers; with beats largely being composed through machines and samples used instead of actual performances, the soul behind the art isn't as prevalent as it could be. "Somebody's Gotta Do It" features Jean Grae and Devin The Dude. Devin's hook fits perfectly, and even though a little profanity is used, it's beautiful. Thought and Grae intertwine with Devin's hook, relaxing above the laid-back beat. Then there's "Why," a track which evokes a lot of feeling with subtle utterings of "Why" interlaced within the background.
The album is flawed though. I keep allowing "The Mic" yet another chance to grow on me. However, it never does. The concept isn't particularly capturing ("The only thing I ever loved in my life is the mic"), but the main problem is the intentionally poor sounding hook above its bland beat. Skillz provides an average verse, but even Dave Chappelle's ad-libs fail to impress. With that said, Black Thought manages to perform well but with the surrounding clutter, the track fails to keep my attention in a good state.
I first noticed The Roots with "What They Do," and since then, I've been a big fan. Every time they've passed through my city, I've attended their stellar shows and haven't been let down. Their material seems perfectly engineered and carefully performed. Black Thought continues to improve and maintain the level of consistency and flow that we're accustomed to and The Roots as a whole continue providing beautiful backdrops. "The Tipping Point" is worth picking up.