Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart

4.5 4
by The Roots
     
 

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Like its literary namesake (the novel written by Nigerian Nobel Prize winner Chinua Achebe), Things Fall Apart examines the colonial mind-set as manifested in the modern African-American experience. With unfussy yet precise production, irresistible beats, and smooth rhymes (provided predominantly by lead MC Black Thought), the Roots stroll through the 'hood,

Overview

Like its literary namesake (the novel written by Nigerian Nobel Prize winner Chinua Achebe), Things Fall Apart examines the colonial mind-set as manifested in the modern African-American experience. With unfussy yet precise production, irresistible beats, and smooth rhymes (provided predominantly by lead MC Black Thought), the Roots stroll through the 'hood, pointing out paradoxes and political realities ("Act Won," "Double Trouble"), without losing sight of love ("You Got Me," featuring Erykah Badu), or missing an opportunity to party ("The Next Movement"). Few albums manage to simultaneously be this informative, political, and downright groovy. From "Step into the Realm" to the closing strains of "Return to Innocence Lost," the Roots never stray from their mission to enlighten as well as to entertain.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Huey
One of the cornerstone albums of alternative rap's second wave, Things Fall Apart was the point where the Roots' tremendous potential finally coalesced into a structured album that maintained its focus from top to bottom. If the group sacrifices a little of the unpredictability of its jam sessions, the resulting consistency more than makes up for it, since the record flows from track to track so effortlessly. Taking its title from the Chinua Achebe novel credited with revitalizing African fiction, Things Fall Apart announces its ambition right upfront, and reinforces it in the opening sound collage. Dialogue sampled from Spike Lee's Mo' Better Blues implies a comparison to abstract modern jazz that lost its audience, and there's another quote about hip-hop records being treated as disposable, that they aren't maximized as product or as art. That's the framework in which the album operates, and while there's a definite unity counteracting the second observation, the artistic ambition actually helped gain the Roots a whole new audience ("coffeehouse chicks and white dudes," as Common puts it in the liner notes). The backing tracks are jazzy and reflective, filled with subtly unpredictable instrumental lines, and the band also shows a strong affinity for the neo-soul movement, which they actually had a hand in kick-starting via their supporting work on Erykah Badu's Baduizm. Badu returns the favor by guesting on the album's breakthrough single, "You Got Me," an involved love story that also features a rap from Eve, co-writing from Jill Scott, and an unexpected drum'n'bass breakbeat in the outro. Other notables include Mos Def on the playful old-school rhymefest "Double Trouble," Slum Village superproducer Jay Dee on "Dynamite!," and Philly native DJ Jazzy Jeff on "The Next Movement." But the real stars are Black Thought and Malik B, who drop such consistently nimble rhymes throughout the record that picking highlights is extremely difficult. Along with works by Lauryn Hill, Common, and Black Star, Things Fall Apart is essential listening for anyone interested in the new breed of mainstream conscious rap.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/23/1999
Label:
Mca
UPC:
0008811194826
catalogNumber:
11948
Rank:
8350

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Roots   Primary Artist
D'Angelo   Keyboards
Marie Daulne   Background Vocals
Larry Gold   Viola
Bob Powers   Synthesizer
James Poyser   Keyboards
Erykah Badu   Background Vocals
Igor Szwec   Violin
Anthony Tidd   Guitar
Common   Vocals
Mos Def   Vocals
Scott Storch   Keyboards

Technical Credits

Kamal   Producer
Dave Ivory   Engineer
Derek Jackson   Executive Producer
Axel Niehaus   Engineer
James Poyser   Producer
Richard Nichols   Producer,Executive Producer
Ursula Rucker   Poetry
Chaos   Producer
Todd Fairall   Engineer
Gordon Rice   Engineer
Kenny J. Gravillis   Artwork
Francesca Spero   Executive Producer
?uestlove   Composer,Producer
Tariq Trotter   Producer
Blair Wells   Engineer
Melvin Lewis   Engineer
Russell A. Robinson   Artwork
Keith Cramer   Engineer
Erik Steinert   Pro-Tools
E. Smith   Composer
Scott Storch   Composer,Producer,Engineer

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Things Fall Apart 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
THEY DIDN'T WIN A GRAMMY FOR NOTHING! FINALLY THE ROOTS GET THE WELL DESERVED RECOGNITION THAT THEY DESERVE. BUT IF YOU THINK THAT THE ONLY STANDOUT ON THIS ALBUM IS 'YOU GOT ME' FEATURING ERYKAH BADU THEN YOU ARE IN FOR A SURPRISE. CHECK OUT 'THE NEXT MOVEMENT', '100% DUNDEE' AND 'ADRENALINE!(FEATURING NOW ROCAFELLA STAR BEANIE SIGEL)'. THE STANDOUT TRACK HAS TO BE 'THE LOVE OF MY LIFE' FEATURING STANDOUT ARTIST COMMON. IF YOU WANT TO SUM UP HOW HIP HOP HAS INFLUENCED AND HOW IT SHOULD BE PRESENTED PEEP BLACK THOUGHT'S VERBAL PERSPECTIVE: SOMETIMES I WOULDN'T MADE IT IF IT WASN'T FOR YOU/HIP HOP YOU'RE THE LOVE OF MY LIFE/THAT'S TRUE/WHEN I WAS HANDLING THE S*** I WAS SUPPOSED TO DO/IT WAS ALL FOR YOU. THOSE WORDS SAY IT ALL. OH ALSO PEEP THE BONUS TRACK!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although The Roots may seem as though they are new, they have been around since the beginning of time... or at least rap. Coming even harder on there most celebrated and commercial successful album, I would have to say that these maters of live performances ( i.e. Audiotistic held in San Bernardino attracted thousands upon thousands of people, young and old ) have finally made them a well known name in the public's eye. Well done...Well done.
Guest More than 1 year ago
4 stars only because illadelph was a 5 star album. Black Thought continues to improve.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago