The Roots, The Tipping Point

Christina Lee

By Christina Lee

on 01.04.12 in Reviews

The Tipping Point

The Roots
A straightforward, lyrically-driven return to hip-hop aimed at the mainstream

Diehard Roots fans cried foul when Black Thought mumbled nonsensically in the hook of The Tipping Point‘s lead single, something ?uestlove didn’t even expect. (“Roots diehards should be used to this zaniness,” he wrote in its liner notes.) But as a front-to-back listen makes clear, their first and last effort for Interscope is a straightforward, lyrically-driven return to hip-hop as the Roots once knew it — aimed directly at the mainstream. Introduction “Star/Pointro” allows its samples of Sly and Family Stone hit “Everybody is a Star” to take shape in between Black Thought’s observations on the current hip-hop climate (“‘Young brothers on the grind/ holding something in they spine/ Bowling for Columbine“). “Boom!” is a pounding, merciless three-minute rumble that laces the lyrics from Kool G. Rap’s “Poison” over ?uestlove’s ammunition belt of garbage-can clanging. And, stripped to little more than a drum beat and lyrical zingers, “Web” is a nonchalant reminder of when the band was just a streetside duo catering to Philadelphia passers-by, studying the same influences ?uestlove lists in The Tipping Point‘s liners: the Pharcyde’s “For Better or for Worse,” Tuff Crew’s “She Rides the Pony” and De La Soul.