Game Theory

Game Theory

by The Roots

Vinyl LP(Long Playing Record)

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Game Theory

Game Theory is the Roots' equivalent of a Funkadelic playlist containing "Wars of Armageddon," "Cosmic Slop," "Maggot Brain," "March to the Witch's Castle," and "America Eats Its Young." It's a vivid reflector of the times, not an escape hatch (of which there are several readily available options). Spinning turbulence, paranoia, anger, and pain into some of the most exhilarating and startling music released in 2006, the group is audibly galvanized by the world's neverending tailspin and a sympathetic alignment with Def Jam. Batting around stray ideas and squeezing them into shape was clearly not part of the plan, and neither was getting on the radio. The songs flow into and out of one another to optimal effect, with an impossibly stern sense of peak-of-powers focus, as if the group and its collaborators instantly locked into place and simply knocked the thing out. With the exception of the elbow-throwing "Here I Come," nothing here is suitable for any kind of carefree activity. The extent of the album's caustic nature is tipped off early on, after glancing at the hangman on the cover and hearing Wadud Ahmad's penetrating voice run through lines like "Pilgrims, slaves, Indians, Mexicans/It looks real f*cked up for your next of kin." The point at which the album kicks into full gear, just a couple minutes later, arrives when tumbling bass drums and a Sly & the Family Stone sample ("This is a game/I'm your specimen") are suddenly overtaken by pure panic -- pulse-racing drums, anxious organ jabs, pent-up guitar snarls, and breathless rhyming from Black Thought and Malik B. "In the Music" exemplifies the deeply textured nature of the album's production work, with its rolling
oiling rhythm -- throbbing bass, clanging percussion, tight spirals of guitar -- made all the more claustrophobic by Porn's amorphous chorus and Black Thought's and Malik B.'s hunched-shoulder deliveries. Even "Baby," the closest thing to a breather in this patch of the album, arises from a sweltering jungle bog. After "Long Time," the ninth track, the levels of tension and volume decrease, yet the moods are no brighter, even if the surfaces leave a different impression. "Clock with No Hands" is introduced as a sweet slow jam with a light vocal hook from Mercedes Martinez, but it's as paranoid as anything else on the album. Jack Davey projects the chorus of the slower, Radiohead-sampling "Atonement" in a druggy haze while Black Thought speaks of "being faced with the weight of survival." The closer, an eight-minute suite titled "Can't Stop This," features a J Dilla production -- previewed on his Donuts, released the week he left this planet -- that opens and closes with testimonials to the musician's talent and humanity. Taken with or without this staggering finale, Game Theory is a heavy album, the Roots' sharpest work. It's destined to become one of Def Jam's proudest, if not most popular, moments. [A clean version of the album was also released.]

Product Details

Release Date: 09/12/2006
Label: Def Jam
UPC: 0602517040953
catalogNumber: 000722201
Rank: 30811

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Roots   Primary Artist
Bunny Sigler   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Davis A. Barnett   Viola
Larry Gold   Cello,Conductor
Malik B.   Vocals
Rahzel   Vocal Percussion
Black Thought   Rap
Emma Kummrow   Violin
Igor Szwec   Violin
?uestlove   Drums
Leonard Hubbard   Bass Guitar
Michael Heinzer   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Peedi Peedi   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Wadud Ahmad   Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Spoken Word
Maimouna Youssef   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Mercedes Martinez   Track Performer
Jack Davey   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Gloria Justen   Violin
Captain Kirk Douglas   Guitar
Kamal Gray   Keyboards
Frank "Knuckles" Walker   Percussion
Charles Parker   Violin

Technical Credits

Bunny Sigler   Composer
Ron L. Hubbard   Composer
R. Bell   Composer
Russell Elevado   Engineer
Larry Gold   String Arrangements
Brian Holland   Composer
Steve Mandell   Engineer
Jon Smeltz   Engineer
S. Stewart   Composer
Eric Sadler   Composer
Richard Nichols   Producer,Executive Producer,Art Direction
Roots   Producer,Audio Production
A.P. Thompson   Composer
Pedro Martinez   Producer
Alli Truch   Art Direction
Kenny J. Gravillis   Art Direction
Doug Joswick   Package Production
?uestlove   Producer,Engineer
Sly   Engineer
K. Gray   Composer
Kamiah "Little Klang" Gray   Producer
John McGlinchey   Producer,Engineer
Omar Edwards   Producer
Adam Blackstone   Producer
J Dilla   Producer,Engineer
Robert "LB" Dorsey   Engineer
Tahir Jamal   Producer
Brook D'Leau   Producer
Randy Watson Experience   Producer
Owen Biddle   Producer
Family Stone   Engineer
Kevin Hansen   Producer
Khari Mateen   Producer,Engineer

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