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Published: 2010/11/01
by Jen Stevens

The Roots
How I Got Over

Waiting for the new album from the Roots has not been easy for fans. Not only were the last few albums somewhat of a letdown, How I Got Over was delayed by a number of months as originally it was set to be released in February.

Thankfully it’s here and How I Got Over not only shows how the band has matured over the years but once again proves that all hip hop is not created equal. The album is a mix of soul, jazz and intelligent lyrics. Each song flows into the next with refreshing lyrics that maintain a serious vibe. “Walk Alone” starts the album off after a brief jazzy intro with the first two verses from Truck North and P.O.R.N expressing how it is to be challenged and alone. Black Thought chimes in on the third verse, singing “Walk alone, I walk alone, you know I walk it alone, I always been on my own ever since the day I was born so I don’t mind walking alone.”

Amber Coffman, Angel Deradoorian and Haley Dekle from Dirty Projectors provide graceful guest vocals that help to center the album. “Now or Never” fits in well with the overall idea of the release with lyrics like, “Everything’s changing around me and I wanna change too, it’s one thing I know, it ain’t cool bein’ no fool.” “Dear God” is about problems in the world from war to a weak economy. Featuring Monsters of Folk, “Dear God” questions present-day society with lyrics like, “Why is the world ugly when you made it in your image and why is living life such a fight to the finish?”

How I Got Over features a wide variety of guest singers and rappers. The title song, with guest Dice Raw stresses the importance of caring and really sets the tone for the album. John Legend appears on a darker selection entitled “The Fire.” “Right On,” a personal favorite, has a different feel then the other tracks and it features a sample from Joanna Newsom’s “Book of Right-On.”

How I Got Over affirms once again that the Roots are artists with integrity, ever-willing to express themselves with clarity and vision.

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