The Roots, known for their innovative album concepts, return after a two year break to release their new album, Game Theory, filled with 14 hard hitting tracks that express their views on the state of the world. Game Theory is The Roots' most thought-provoking, incitive album since their 1999 breakthrough Things Fall Apart and will be the group's debut for Def Jam Recordings, home to the world's premiere Hip-Hop artists.
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