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Game Theory [Import]

Roots Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 25.91
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Game Theory + Phrenology (Ltd.Ed) + Things Fall Apart
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Product Description

Product Description

Japanese pressing includes one bonus track, 'Bread & Butter'. Def Jam. 2006.

Amazon.ca

Despite their signing to Def Jam, on Game Theory the Roots head in a direction opposite from all the trendy, commercial formulas that the label has pioneered. This is as intensely a "Roots album" as anything they've put out, the rightful sequel to their brilliant, creative Phrenology (unlike their last album, the off-balance Tipping Point. Game Theory is a dark and brooding affair, not just in Black Thought's foreboding lyricism but also in its musical textures. There's a layer of melancholia running beneath nearly every song, whether in the heavy thump of "In the Music" or the frenetic verve of "Here I Come." Track-for-track, this isn't The Roots' most scintillating collection of songs, but listened to from end-to-end, it's actually a remarkable achievement in album-making. Every song builds into the next one, and those willing to experience Game Theory as a 47-minute suite of 13 songs will be richly rewarded by how precisely the whole puzzle fits together. --Oliver Wang --This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Hip Hop, period Jan. 13 2008
Format:Audio CD
The first album by The Roots for their new label Def Jam was predicted with doom. Given the supposed radio-friendly production of their previous 2004 album "The Tipping Point" and the fact that Def Jam has long been known for such pop friendly acts as Jay-Z, many fans and industry folk speculated that The Roots poised to descend from their mantle as a major creative force in Hip Hop. With "Game Theory", The Roots return to the strengths of their biggest selling 1999 album "Things Fall Apart" and expand upon the creative innovation shown in 2002's "Phrenology." "Game Theory" may well be a serious competitor for best album from The Roots and a standout success for Hip Hop in 2006.

One of the most noticeable changes listening to "Game Theory" after 2004's "The Tipping Point" is the band's return to a more collaborative sound. The Roots are at their best when they play as a rap/hip hop BAND rather than relying on the vocals of Black Thought. Thought has always been able to rap with the best, but the lyric-centric songs on "The Tipping Point" suffered from his lack of emotional range and dramatic inflection. On "Game Theory", fans will once again find that larger diversity of the band, creating integral parts of the music using broad influences, instrumentation, and guest singers.

The tracks on "Game Theory" range across the spectrum from down and dirty beats that make you jump to smooth grooves that slide like silk into your ear. The media critical second track "False Media" is a short personal critique tune that features an intense chorus of seriousness from Wadud Ahmad. The album then jumps into high gear with the title third track featuring Black Thought belting out in-your-face lyrics to a fantastic beat from ?uestlove on drums and sharp keyboards from Kamal.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Sept. 3 2014
Format:Audio CD
fast shipping and good CD
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  90 reviews
39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Roots - Game Theory Aug. 31 2006
By Done - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The Roots (Black Thought (MC), ?uestlove (Drums), Hub (Bass), Kamal (Keyboards), Knuckles (Percussion), and Captain Kirk (Guitar)) keep things moving delivering their seventh studio album "Game Theory" (2006). Former member Malik B returns for this release appearing on three tracks. Fellow Philadelphia native Peedi Peedi (AKA Peedi Crack formerly of State Property) appears on one track, and it is rumored he will be joining the Roots. Overall this album is laced with darker production and has the Root's talking about more serious issues - like politics, war and the state of the world. The album opens with "Dillatastic Vol Won(derful)" a short instrumental and ends with "Can't Stop This", both a tribute to the late great producer J Dilla aka Jay Dee (R.I.P.). The eight-minute closing track is my favourite on this album, Black Thought rhymes over J Dilla's excellent production providing an outstanding track. The album's first full-length track is "False Media" an ominous sounding track; laced with a dark chorus (Wadud Ahmad), Black Thoughts rhymes are on point. Black Thought reunites with Malik B and both flow fast over the title track "Game Theory". The first single "Don't Feel Right" is a powerful cut, which has Black Thought talking about the problems of the world. The production to "In The Music" is deadly and the highlight of that cut for me, Black Thought continues to drop thought provoking rhymes backed by some words from Wadud Ahmad on "Take It There". John-John provides the chorus to the more laidback sounding "Baby", and the three MC's who have rhymed for the Roots over the years - Black Thought, Malik B and Dice Raw triple tag team "Here I Come". Black Thought, Peedi Peedi rep Philadelphia and talk about their beginnings backed by some feel good production on "Long Time". Black Thought reflects on years past, broken friendships and regrets on the exceptional "Clock With No Hands" backed by some soulful singing from Mercedes Martinez. The Roots shine again with "Atonement" feat. Jack Davey (Brook D'Leu and Jack Davey), Brook's chorus is outstanding. Black Thought never fails to impress me, seems like he gets better and better as time goes by like good wine. The Root's Crew provides outstanding instrumentals and production - I would love to hear them live. Short, memorable & potent "Game Theory" is another keeper for Root's fans.
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hands down The Roots LP "Game Theory" is the best in the 2006 (4.5 Stars) Aug. 29 2006
By Will J. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I normally try to listen to a record a good five to ten times before I review it, but I'm only on my second listen & I just have to express how impressive this album is. It Starts off with a very quick instrumental intro with a little vocal sample, but quickly segues into the scathing "False Media" (2) and one has to wonder if the press is gonna hate on this album just because of this song. The title track follows and is so live you can't help but scrunch up your brow and nod your head. The lead single "Don't Feel Right" on it's own does not stand out as an amazing track but in context of the rest of the album and where it is placed in the order of tracks it feels so right. Musically Hub, Kamal, Kirk & Knuckles play their part perfectly while ?uest ties it all together like only he can. This is by far one of the most musical LP's the Roots have dropped not only in a minute, but throughout their whole career. You can hear influences of Funkadelic, Prince, Miles Davis, Shuggie Otis, etc. throughout and it's completed with the one man who is always forgotten when it comes to lists of great emcees: Black Thought. Thought steps up and knocks one out the park on this release, what may be his best yet. He delivers autobiographical tales about the streets of Philly, he delivers social commentary, and he gets his braggadocio on. This is his testament to all the haters who think the Roots are great because of the band. They are great because of the band and Black Thought is the integral part of that band that puts them a step above. Malik B also makes his triumphant return to the group that he was an original member of and he sounds so fresh. Its perfect hearing him and BT rip it together like any classic rhyming duo, and they haven't missed a step. This album is dark and moody and will probably receive criticism for that, but where would you be artistically after leaving your label of ten years, dropping possibly your worst album ever, and then being told by one of the greatest to ever pick up a mic (who just happens to be your new boss) "Do not embarrass me." Jay has nothing to fear as he will forever be remembered as the man who brought the Roots to a major label and let them release "their" music.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Does Feel Right {5 Stars} Sept. 5 2006
By Norfeest - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Finally. The Roots are back. On their first studio release since Tipping Point, they make a lot of changes but manage to remain the same (if that makes any sense). Gone are most of the upbeat, fun joints that get you amped. They're replaced by dark, almost cinematic production courtesy of The Roots, J Dilla, and Kamal (on the keys). Another change is the lyrical content. Black Thought seems to be on more of a conscious tip instead of the normal smashing of emcees and flexing of lyrical muscles. Don't get me wrong, he still rips, but he's sprinkling more message than usual this time around. Also, I'm one of the few people that sorely missed Malik B., so I bugged out when I heard him step in on the outstanding title track, "Game Theory". He still rhymes with the same presence and skill that he showed before his departure (be sure to check his solo LP too....it's dope) and he shows up on two more great tracks -- "In The Music" and the bangin' "Here I Come" feat. Dice Raw. Not only is M-Illitant back, but Dice Raw seems to have regained his passion and Peedi Peedi (rumored to be joining the group) aka Peedi Crack of State Property steps up his game and drops a dope verse on the bangin' "Long Time". I always knew Peedi could spit, I was just waiting for him to actually say something and he does it on this album. Guests include those already mentioned along with Maimouna Youssef, Wadud Ahmad, Porn, Bunny Sigler, John John, Mercedes Martinez, and Jack Davey and they all shine. The late Jay Dee aka J Dilla makes his posthumous impact on the brief Dillatastic Vol Won(derful) which he "oversees" and the excellent "Can't Stop This" (which the beat for this song can also be found on his Donuts LP).

As far as flaws, I can't think of any. The newer, darker sound works well for them, so no beef there. If I had to find a beef, it would be the fact that The Roots didn't include a hidden track (which I think is a first for them....but don't quote me). Maybe it's one of the changes that comes with rolling with the Carter Administration/Def Jam. Who knows. My complaint is a very minor one though.

Game Theory Is the most complete, well rounded release from the Roots since Things Fall Apart. Not only did BT rip every track while Malik B. returned to do three tracks, but the production bangs nonstop. The Roots' Def Jam debut is a home run. They finally have the handcuffs removed and are allowed to release their vision upon the masses -- and they've never sounded better. I recommend adding this to your record collection asap. Satisfaction is definitely guaranteed.

Standout Tracks: Clock With No Hands feat. Mercedes Martinez of The Jazzyfatnastees, Long Time feat. Peedi Peedi & Bunny Sigler, In The Music feat. Malik B. & Porn, Game Theory feat. Malik B., Don't Feel Right feat. Maimouna Youssef, Here I Come feat. Dice Raw & Malik B., False Media, and Can't Stop This (My Favorite)
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Voted unlikely to succeed, 'cause my class was full of naysayers, cheaters and thieves" Feb. 3 2007
By Wheelchair Assassin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Over the past decade or so The Roots have staked out a pretty nice niche as one of the few hip-hop acts with significant appeal to non-fans of the genre, and Game Theory certainly won't disappoint fans of past efforts. Once again striking a near-perfect balance of energy, creativity, and intelligence, Game Theory continues with the progressive-minded, R&B/ soul influenced approach that made 2002's Phrenology a classic, but the aggression level has seemingly been upped a few notches this time around. After a brief intro, the album declares its intentions immediately with the disaffected manifesto of False Media, a shot fired right across the bow of mainstream American society. From there, Game Theory continues in the same vein, specializing in angry, gloomy tales of urban decay, led by the furious raps of Black Thought and the driving, polyrhythmic drumwork of ?uestlove.

Game Theory is at its best when it's at its most confrontational and intense, which makes it somewhat of a letdown when the album settles into a series of more laid-back, R&B oriented tracks in its final third. That said, the seven tracks after the intro pack about as much brilliance into a twenty-minute stretch as you're going to find, as they're everything most mainstream hip-hop isn't--intricate, clever, and brutally honest. Be it the frenetic time signatures and ultra-anthemic chorus of the hard-charging Here I Come, the clanging, hard-edged beats of the ominous In the Music, or the fast-paced, headbanging fury of the title track (my pick for song of the year), the best moments of Game Theory are among the most memorable of 2006 in any genre. Much of Game Theory is the sound of people who have faced the kind of adversity that's brought down numerous others, and are still here to talk about it. It's just too bad that in a musical climate where suburban children of privilege can be taken seriously for whining about their feelings, there aren't more people willing to listen.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Roots Begin A Legacy At Def Jam With Another Classic Album Sept. 16 2006
By Ludacris88 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Game Theory is The Roots' 7th album of original material, and although the music remains as dope as it was at the beginning, their sound has greatly evolved and matured. Game Theory is their darkest, most mature, and most politically charged album' production wise, and lyric wise.

The production on this album is definately a highlight. The Roots produce most of the album themselves, but James Poyser, Khari Mateen, Tahir Jamal, Richard Nichols, Owen Biddle, Kevin Hansen, J. Dilla and others help out. J. Dilla (RIP) produced the 28 second intro, as well as the final track, 'Can't Stop This', which is a tribute to Dilla that uses the beat 'Time: The Donut Of The Heart' from Dilla's incredible instrumental album 'Donuts'. The rest of the album has a large production range from extremely chill ('Atonement'), to as hype as a Roots song gets ('Here I Come'), but most of them fall comfortably in the middle. As I stated earlier, this album has the darkest production of any Roots album. This goes perfectly with the lyrical content of the album, as well as provides a great tone throughout the album.

While the production on Game Theory is top notch, even for Roots standards, Black Thought is really the shining point of this album. Game Theory is Black Thought's best album lyrically yet. The social & political consciousness of the album, and how it's presented is extremely impactful and makes for an interesting, and very hard hitting album. The album also has some noteworthy guest apperances, with easily the most noteworthy being the return of Malik B. Malik is only featured on 3 tracks, but he drops dope verses on all 3 tracks, which are 3 of the best tracks of the album. I really hope that Malik, who was dismissed from the group as a result of drug problems, will play a more prominant role on the next Roots album, because he has been such a great compliment to Black Thought in the past.

Game Theory is The Roots' best album since 1999 ('Things Fall Apart'; which I also consider a classic), and is probably the best album of 2006 (only rivaled by J. Dilla's 'Donuts'). This album is definately a sign of good things to come for The Roots on Def Jam, and should be the beginning of a great relationship.

Top 5 Songs (In Order):

1. Can't Stop This - J. Dilla tribute song over 'Time: The Donut Of The Heart' from Dilla's 'Donuts'. Easily one of the best songs of 2006 so far. R.I.P.

2. Game Theory (Featuring Malik B) - Malik B returns with a nice verse on just an overall GREAT track.

3. Here I Come (Featuring Malik B & Dice Raw) - The 3 best MCs of the 90s Roots crew reunite for a great track over one of the best beats on the album.

4. Don't Feel Right (Featuring Maimouna Youssef) - Another overall dope track.

5. In The Music (Featuring Malik B & Porn) - Some great production, as well as the 3rd dope verse on the album from Malik B.

Worst Track:

Clock With No Hands (Featuring Mercedes Martinez) - My least favorite beat on the album, and although it's a good song, it's kind of boring.

Lyrics/Substance/Subject Matter - 10/10

Flow/Delivery - 9.5/10

Production - 9.5/10

Overall Feel - 10/10

Guest Apperances - Malik B, Maimouna Youssef, Porn, Wadud Ahmad, John-John, Dice Raw, Peedi Peedi, Bunny Sigler, Mercedes Martinez & Jack Davey - 8/10 - Guests contribute some great hooks and nice compliment verses.

Overall Rating - 10/10 - Another classic from The Legendary Roots Crew. If you have any interest in hip hop (and I dont mean Young Joc), this is a must have.
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