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.
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.