The Roots - Rising Down 

Def Jam

The Roots have released "Rising Down," another progressively styled sampling of mastery from Philadelphia's hip-hop purveyors.

Less explosive than 2006's fiery "Game Theory," "Rising Down" utilizes new sounds and textures and fatalistic lyrics for an abrasive, often industrial rap grind that manages to be political lyrically, without being overtly charged.

Both "Singing Man" and "Lost Desire" start off at a boiling point, sobbing with frustration about affairs at home and abroad, juxtaposing school shootings with global outrage. Warm retro sounds and organs utilized through many Roots albums, notably "The Tipping Point" and "Things Fall Apart," are largely shelved in favor of harsher synthesizers in the grime-shellacked "The Show" and the digital static stomp down "Get Busy."

"Rising Down" has tons of guest vocalists and musicians, including Mos Def, DJ Jazzy Jeff (yo, Holmes!), Talib Kweli, Common and Styles P, and drummer/producer/leader Guestlove is still audibly pushing boundaries with his drum set and production vision.

Thumbs up for "Rising Down."

"?Joe Wertz

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